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About Joe Cocker
Before switching to lead vocals, British rock and soul singer Joe Cocker played drums for Vance Arnold and the Avengers, who toured with The Rolling Stones and The Hollies in the early ’60s.
∙ Cocker’s iconic performance of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” was one of the highlights of the 1969 Woodstock festival and helped make him a huge star in the US.
∙ The raucous 1970 Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour—which featured Leon Russell as his musical director—produced Cocker’s first US Top 10 hit, a live cover of The Box Tops’ “The Letter.”
∙ His aching 1974 version of Billy Preston’s “You Are So Beautiful” reached No. 5 in the US and turned the song into a popular standard.
∙ Cocker’s 1976 appearance on Saturday Night Live—in which he took the stage while John Belushi was impersonating him—helped establish the show’s tradition of surprise celebrity cameos.
∙ “Up Where We Belong,” his sweeping duet with Jennifer Warnes recorded for the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman, topped the US charts and won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance.
∙ Rolling Stone included Cocker on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
- Sheffield, Yorkshire, England
- May 20, 1944
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