Joe Cocker Bio:
After starting out as an
unsuccessful pop singer (working under the name Vance Arnold), Joe
Cocker found his niche singing rock and soul in the pubs of England with
his superb backing group, the Grease Band. He hit number one in the U.K.
in November 1968 with his version of the Beatles' "A Little Help
From My Friends." His career really took off after he sang that
song at the Woodstock festival in August 1969.
Joe Cocker Bio
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|A second British hit
came with a version of Leon Russell's "Delta Lady" in the fall
of 1969 (by then, Russell was Cocker's musical director) and both of his
albums, With a Little Help From My Friends (April 1969) and Joe Cocker!
(November 1969), went gold in America. In 1970, his cover of the Box
Tops' hit "The Letter" became his first U.S. Top Ten. Cocker's
first peak of success came when Russell organized the "Mad Dogs
& Englishmen" tour of 1970, featuring Cocker and over 40
others, and resulting in a third gold album and a concert film.
Subsequent efforts were less popular, and problems with alcohol (both
on-stage and off-) reduced Cocker's once-powerful voice to a croaking
rasp. But he returned to the U.S. Top Ten with the romantic ballad
"You Are So Beautiful" in 1975 and topped the charts in a duet
with Jennifer Warnes on "Up Where We Belong," the theme from
the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman. He has survived, still
charting into the '90s, albeit with less frequency than he did in the
'70s and '80s. He also continued to work throughout the new millennium.
No Ordinary World was his first release since 1997's Across from
Midnight. Respect Yourself appeared in 2002. ~ Cub Koda & William
Ruhlmann, All Music Guide