back to top

Singer Joe Cocker Dies At 70

The raspy-throated British singer, known for multiple hits, including his cover of The Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends," died at his home in Colorado.

Posted on

British-born singer Joe Cocker, known for his passionate and gritty delivery of anthemic ballads, died at age 70, his agent has confirmed to the BBC.

"It is with the heaviest of hearts that we heard that our beloved Joe Cocker passed away last night," his agent Barrie Marshall said in a statement. "He was without a doubt the greatest rock/soul voice to ever come out of Britain — and he remained the same man throughout his life."

Sony Music said the Sheffield-born singer died on Monday from small-cell lung cancer, ITV reported.

With a career spanning more than 50 years, Cocker was perhaps best known for his raspy 1968 cover of The Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends," which cracked the top 10 charts in Britain and would later be used as the theme song for the television show The Wonder Years.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Beatles drummer Ringo Starr was among those paying tribute to Cocker on Twitter.

Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends peace and love. R😎✌️🌟💖

Ringo Starr@ringostarrmusicFollow

Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends peace and love. R

1:24 PM - 22 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Cocker went on to release more than 40 albums and tour extensively around the world, Sony noted in its statement, while his agent highlighted his two performances at Woodstock.

Queen Elizabeth made Cocker a member of the Order of the British Empire in 2007 for his services to music.

As with his Beatles cover, many of Cocker's hits were rearrangements of songs from other artists, including his slowed-down 1974 version of Billy Preston's "You Are So Beautiful to Me."

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

In 1986, Cocker rearranged Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On," exaggerating the song's lustful lyrics into an overtly sexual and gruff performance.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

His duet with Jennifer Warnes, "Up Where We Belong," which was featured in the iconic final scene of the 1982 movie An Officer and a Gentleman, won the singer an Academy Award and a Grammy.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Other figures in the entertainment industry also took to Twitter to mourn Cocker:

WE LOVED YOU FOREVER, WE WILL MISS YOU ALWAYS...RIP JOE COCKER.

Steven Tyler@IamStevenTFollow

WE LOVED YOU FOREVER, WE WILL MISS YOU ALWAYS...RIP JOE COCKER.

2:29 PM - 22 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

RIP Joe Cocker....one of my favorite voices ever

josh groban@joshgrobanFollow

RIP Joe Cocker....one of my favorite voices ever

2:35 PM - 22 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Joe Cocker has died. RIP my good friend, you were one of the best rock singers EVER. #respect #verysad #hugeinfluence #whenthenightcomes

Bryan Adams@bryanadamsFollow

Joe Cocker has died. RIP my good friend, you were one of the best rock singers EVER. #respect #verysad #hugeinfluence #whenthenightcomes

2:18 PM - 22 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

“@thesulk: Congrats to Joe Cocker for living 45 years longer than he should've.” Woodstock performance was as badass as it gets

Judd Apatow@JuddApatowFollow

“@thesulk: Congrats to Joe Cocker for living 45 years longer than he should've.” Woodstock performance was as badass as it gets

2:40 PM - 22 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Watch Cocker's epic performance of "With a Little Help With My Friends" at Woodstock in 1969 here:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.

David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.

Contact David Mack at david.mack@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.