Emily Yahr (c) 2014, The Washington Post. Grammy-winning singer Joe Cocker died Monday at age 70, his record label confirmed. Cocker, the British ’60s rocker most famous for his cover of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends” and songs such as “You Are So Beautiful,” was battling cancer.
“It will be impossible to fill the space he leaves in our hearts,” Cocker’s agent, Barrie Marshall, told the BBC.
Though Cocker was best known or his earlier music (such as “With a Little Help From My Friends,” which he famously performed at Woodstock), he had some success in his later years, too. He had a top-selling European tour along with his final album, “Fire It Up,” in 2012. He also won an Oscar in 1982 for the song “Up Where We Belong,” a duet with Jennifer Warnes on “An Officer and a Gentleman” soundtrack.
Born and raised in Sheffield, England, he toured all over the world and was exceptionally energetic in concert. From a Washington Post article about one of Cocker’s shows in May 1970: “With all due apologies to Ike and Tina Turner, Janis, et al, I have never seen a more exciting live rock show … I didn’t bother with a poll, but I’d be willing to wager that not too many of the other 1,500 blown minds at that concert would disagree with me,” wrote reviewer Alex Ward.
The news about Cocker’s declining health was kept under wraps until September, when Billy Joel performed a tribute for Cocker in concert and called him “a great singer who is not very well right now.” He also urged for Cocker to get a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Here’s Sony Music’s full statement:
“John Robert Cocker, known to family, friends, his community and fans around the world as Joe Cocker, passed away on December 22, 2014 after a hard fought battle with small cell lung cancer. Mr. Cocker was 70 years old.”