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Joe Cocker Biography

Home > Music > C > Cocker, Joe > Biography

Birth Name: John Robert Cocker
Born: 1944/05/20
Birth Place: Sheffield, England
Years Active: 1960–present
Genres: Blues, Rock, Blues-rock, Blue-Eyed Soul

John Robert "Joe" Cocker, OBE (born on 20 May 1944 in Sheffield, England) is an English rock/blues musician, composer and actor who came to popularity in the 1960s, and is most known for his gritty voice, his idiosyncratic arm movements while performing, and his cover versions of popular songs, particularly those of The Beatles. He is the recipient of several awards, including a 1983 Grammy Award for his song "Up Where We Belong", a duet which he performed with Jennifer Warnes.

His debut solo album “With a Little Help from My Friends” was released in 1969 and was certified gold in the U.S. peaking at #35 on the Billboard 200.

Directly after a memorable performance at Woodstock, Cocker released his second album, “Joe Cocker!.” Impressed by his cover of "With A Little Help From my Friends", Paul McCartney and George Harrison allowed Cocker to use their songs "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" and "Something" for the album. The album reached number 11 on the US charts and garnered a second UK hit with the Leon Russell song, "Delta Lady".

He enjoyed several chart entries in the US with "Cry Me a River" and "Feelin' Alright" by Dave Mason. His cover of the Box Tops' hit "The Letter", which appeared on the live album and film, “Mad Dogs and Englishmen,” became his first US Top Ten hit.

In the summer of 1971 the A&M Records single release appeared in the US of "High Time We Went". This became a hit, reaching number 22 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, but was not issued on an album until November 1972 on the “Joe Cocker” album. The album peaked at number 30 on the US charts.

At the end of 1973, Cocker returned to the studio to record a new album, “I Can Stand A Little Rain.” The album, released in August 1974, was number 11 on the US charts and one single, a cover of Billy Preston's “You Are So Beautiful,” reached the number 5 slot.

In late 1975, he recorded a new album in a Kingston, Jamaica studio, “Stingray.” However, record sales were disappointing: the album reached only number 70 on the US charts.

In the autumn of 1978, he went on a North American tour promoting his album, “Luxury You Can Afford.” Despite this effort, it received mixed reviews and only sold around 300,000 copies.

In 1982, at the behest of producer Stewart Levine, Cocker recorded the duet "Up Where We Belong" with Jennifer Warnes for the soundtrack of the 1982 film “An Officer and a Gentleman.” The song was an international hit, reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and winning a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo. The duet also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song while Cocker and Warnes performed the song at the awards ceremony.

He released “Hard Knocks,” his twenty first studio album on 1 October 2010 by Columbia Records.