Singer Joe Cocker, who might be best known for his 1969 cover of the Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends," has died at age 70 after a long battle with lung cancer. The singer, who was born in England, died at his home in Colorado.
"John Robert Cocker, known to family, friends, his community and fans around the world as Joe Cocker, passed away December 22, 2014, after a hard fought battle with small cell lung cancer," Sony Music wrote in a statement via iTV. “It will be impossible to fill the space he leaves in our hearts,” his agent, Barrie Marshall, told the BBC.
Cocker rose to fame in 1964 and recorded 40 albums during his lengthy career. His powerful, down-tempo cover of the Beatles' 1967 track, "With a Little Help from My Friends," sent him to Number 1 on the singles charts and made him a star.
His performance of the song (which you can watch below) is one of several highlights of the 1970 Woodstock film. His recording of the song also was used as the theme for the popular U.S. TV series The Wonder Years.
Known for his gritty voice and odd movements while singing (as parodied on Saturday Night Live by John Belushi in the Seventies), Cocker began his singing career in the pubs and clubs of Sheffield, England, in the 1960s before hitting the big time. His 1982 duet with Jennifer Warnes, "Up Where We Belong," hit Number 1 and went on to win a Grammy and an Academy Award.
Besides "With a Little Help from My Friends," Cocker also found success with his cover of the Beatles' "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window." His other Beatles covers include "I'll Cry Instead" and "Come Together," not to mention George Harrison's "Beware of Darkness." (One bit of Beatles trivia: Henry McCollough, Cocker's guitarist at Woodstock, would go on to be the first lead guitarist in Paul McCartney's Seventies band, Wings.)
Cocker was honored with an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 2007.