Joe Cocker, singer of “With a Little Help From My Friends” at Woodstock, parodied by John Belushi, Dead at 70. (VIDEO)

Singer Joe Cocker Dead at 70

Singer Joe Cocker Dead at 70

Brow Beat has moved! You can find new stories here.
Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 22 2014 2:13 PM

Singer Joe Cocker Is Dead at 70

Photo by Reuters Photographer/Reuter
Joe Cocker in 1997.

Photo by Reuters Photographer/Reuter

British singer Joe Cocker, famous for his intense, growly performances of songs like The Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends,” died this morning from lung cancer. He was 70 years old.

Cocker’s iconic version of “With a Little Help From My Friends” was a drastic reworking of the original, giving the song an extended introduction with wailing organs and guitars, and stretching it out for several minutes. Cocker’s version went to No. 1 in the United Kingdom in 1968 and later became the opening theme for The Wonder Years, though his most famous performance came at Woodstock in 1969.


Cocker also had a major hit in 1975 with his version of “You Are So Beautiful.” He was known above all for his throat-tearing screams and flailing body movements—both often reminiscent of Ray Charles—which were famously parodied by John Belushi. Those looking for the quintessential Cocker moment should skip to about 4:45 in the video above. There was never any questioning Cocker’s passion.