With the sad news of the passing of a true great, Joe Cocker, let’s look back fondly at live versions of what are, in my opinion, his top 5 recording moments.
The British blues and soul singer was 70 years old when he died on Monday after a long battle with cancer.
Confirming his death, Sony Music said in a statement: “John Robert Cocker, known to family, friends, his community and fans around the world as Joe Cocker, passed away on 22 December 2014 after a hard-fought battle with small-cell lung cancer … His international success as a blues/rock singer began in 1964 and continues till this day.”
His agent, Barrie Marshall, said that Cocker was “without a doubt the greatest rock/soul voice ever to come out of Britain – and remained the same man throughout his life. Hugely talented, a true star, but a kind and humble man who loved to perform. Anyone who ever saw him live will never forget him.”
Joe Cocker’s top 5 greatest moments
5) Feelin’ Alright
Cocker performing his favoured opener here at the 1994 version of Woodstock, returning to the place where he announced himself proper to America at the generation defining original mother of music festivals in 1969.
4) Hitchcock Railway
Here we have early 80s vintage Cocker with his rollicking classic.
3) The Letter
This is Joe Cocker in his absolute prime, during his 1970 ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ tour.
2) You Are So Beautiful
Most famous for his blood, sweat and growl performances, Cocker could also tone it down better than most. Here, at his most tender.
1) A Little Help From My Friends
And of course we have to finish with this Lennon McCartney classic that Cocker elevated to being a masterpiece. Joe Cocker must be the only performer ever to have made a Beatles song better and more famous than the Fab Four themselves managed to. Upon learning of the singer’s passing, Paul McCartney told the BBC: “It totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful to him for doing that.”
TOP IMAGEJoe Cocker performs on stage at the Olympia Hall in the southern German city of Munich 05 October 2007. Cocker died on Monday, 22 December 2014, aged 70. (CLEMENS BILAN/AFP/Getty Images)