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Joe Cocker, who thrilled audiences at the famed Woodstock Festival and had hit records from the ’60s to the ’90s, has succumbed to lung cancer and died at the age of 70. His impassioned, gravely vocals put on unforgettable stamp on such songs as his 1968 cover of The Beatles “With a Little Help From My Friends” and his 1982 soundtrack duet with Jennifer Warnes “Up Where We Belong.” It is believed he had been battling the disease for some time and his agent Barrie Marshall confirmed his death, telling the BBC ““It will be impossible to fill the space he leaves in our hearts.”
John Robert “Joe” Cocker was born on May 20th, 1944 in Sheffield, England and like many British musicians of his age was inspired by the sounds of American blues and R&B, particularly Ray Charles. His aforementioned Beatles cover was a #1 single in the UK and his performance of it at Woodstock in 1969 was one of the highlights of both the festival and the ensuing live concert movie. Though he remained a popular touring act throughout the ’70s, his fortunes slowed as he struggled with alcoholism and a changing musical climate. The 1980s, however, were much kinder to him as he released a series of hit singles and well received albums and came to be regarded as one of rock’s greatest vocalists. Joe Cocker is survived by his wife, Pam.