Singer Joe Cocker, who became an icon of the Woodstock Generation with his raspy, blues-tinged performance at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, has died. Rolling Stone reports that Cocker died today at his home in Colorado following a fight with lung cancer.
The British-born Cocker, one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers, was 70.
His agent, Barrie Marshall, confirmed his death, saying, “It will be impossible to fill the space he leaves in our hearts.”
Sony Music released a statement saying: “John Robert Cocker, known to family, friends, his community and fans around the world as Joe Cocker, passed away on December 22nd, 2014 after a hard fought battle with small cell lung cancer. Joe Cocker was born 5/20/1944 in Sheffield, England where he lived until his early 20s. In 2007 he was awarded the OBE by the Queen of England. His international success as a blues/rock singer began in 1964 and continues till this day. Joe created nearly 40 albums and toured extensively around the globe.”
Cocker’s death sparked a number of tributes from fellow performers. Ringo Starr tweeted: “Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends, peace and love.”
“Cocker’s rendition of the Starr-sung Beatles classic ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ — later immortalized as the theme song from ‘The Wonder Years’ — became one of his most enduring hits, along with covers of the Beatles’ ‘She Came in Through the Bathroom Window’ and Billy Preston’s ‘You Are So Beautiful,’” Rolling Stone reports. “Cocker also scored a Number One hit in 1982 for his ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ duet with Jennifer Warnes, ‘Up Where We Belong,’ which went on to win a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal as well as the Best Original Song at both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes.”
Here’s Cocker’s performance of “With a Little Help From My Friends” from Woodstock in 1969: