Joe Cocker became extremely famous in the Sixties and won hearts of his fans with “The Beatles” song “With A Little Help From My Friends”. in 1983 he won a Grammy for “Up Where We Belong”, a duet with Jennifer Warnes.
Cocker, a long-time US resident, died at his home in Colorado after a “hard fought battle with small cell lung cancer”, Sony said in a statement. He is survived by his wife Pam.
As news of his death spread floods of musicians and actors paid tribute to the beloved singer.
Sir Paul McCartney said: “It’s really sad to hear about Joe’s passing. He was a lovely northern lad who I loved a lot and, like many people, I loved his singing.”
“I was especially pleased when he decided to cover With A Little Help From My Friends and I remember him and (producer) Denny Cordell coming round to the studio in Savile Row and playing me what they’d recorded and it was just mind-blowing, totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful for him for doing that,” he added.
“I knew him through the years as a good mate and I was so sad to hear that he had been ill and really sad to hear today that he had passed away. He was a great guy, a lovely guy who brought so much to the world and we’ll all miss him.”
Kiss rocker Gene Simmons tweeted: “Sad to hear Joe Cocker has passed away. Our prayers go out to his family.”
Bette Midler added: “Goodbye to Joe Cocker. There was never anyone like him, and there never will be again. The one of the Sounds of an Era passes.”
Hugh Laurie, the House star, took to Twitter to write: “Oh god. Joe Cocker. The world now feels like a two-legged table.”
Edgar Berger, chairman and chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment International, who signed Cocker, said: “Joe Cocker is a legendary artist of rock and blues history and yet he was one of the most humble men I’ve ever met. His iconic voice will forever be etched in our memories and our thoughts go out to Joe’s wife Pam and his family at this difficult time. Joe will live on in the hearts of millions of fans around the world.”
Seventies funk legend Bootsy Collins tweeted: “Another legend has made his mark & left us with the gifts of funky soul in his music. “Mr. Joe Cocker” gone at 70…”
Beatles drummer Ringo Starr also paid tribute, saying: “Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends, peace and love.”
Joe Cocker was a son of a civil servant and he was born back in May 1944, living in Sheffield until his early twenties.
He worked as a gas fitter while gigging in local pubs and clubs and came to prominence in the early 1960s, famous for his distinctive gravelly voice.
A close friend of Paul McCartney, Cocker shared a stage with other musical legends the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, his flailing arms and physical idiosyncrasies on stage winning him fans as much as his voice did.