Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr lead tributes to singer Joe Cocker after he dies aged 70 following battle with lung cancer
· Rock and blues singer Joe Cocker dies aged 70 after fighting lung cancer
· Star was best known for his cover of With A Little Help From My Friends
· The Sheffield-born singer's prolific career lasted more than 50 years
· Cocker was also known for You Are So Beautiful and Up Where We Belong
· He was awarded an OBE for services to the music industry in 2007
· Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr pay tribute to 'good mate' Cocker
By OLLIE GILLMAN FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 22 December 2014
Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have led the tributes to rock and blues singer Joe Cocker, who has died at the age of 70.
Cocker, best known for his cover of the Beatles' song With A Little Help From My Friends, died at his home in the U.S. last night after a battle with lung cancer.
The prolific star, who released 40 albums over a career spanning half a century, became such good friends with the Beatles that they would play him their new songs before they had even recorded them.
Sir Paul said: 'It's really sad to hear about Joe's passing. He was a lovely northern lad who I loved a lot and, like many people, I loved his singing.
'I was especially pleased when he decided to cover With A Little Help From My Friends and I remember him and (producer) Denny Cordell coming round to the studio in Savile Row and playing me what they'd recorded and it was just mind-blowing, totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful for him for doing that.
'I knew him through the years as a good mate and I was so sad to hear that he had been ill and really sad to hear today that he had passed away.
Singer Joe Cocker has died aged 70 after a battle with lung cancer
'He was a great guy, a lovely guy who brought so much to the world and we'll all miss him.'
Beatles drummer Ringo Starr paid tribute to his friend, tweeting: 'Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends, peace and love.'
Cocker was 'without the doubt the greatest rock/soul singer ever to come out of Britain,' his agent Barrie Marshall said.
His success as a blues and rock singer lasted decades, with the Beatles cover reaching number one in 1968.
Coker found international fame following his performance at Woodstock in 1969, where his storming set was regarded as one of the highlights of the festival.
He won his first Grammy in 1983 and an Oscar for his duet with Jennifer Warnes, Up Where We Belong, which was used in the soundtrack of Richard Gere film An Officer And A Gentleman.
He will also be remembered for his 1975 hit You Are So Beautiful and Delta Lady.
The singer from Sheffield had a career lasting more than 40 years with hits including You Are So Beautiful
On the road, Cocker shared stages with the Rolling Stones and partied with Rod Stewart and Jimi Hendrix
The prolific star from Sheffield had a career lasting more than 45 years and played his last gig in June
Cocker's agent said the singer was 'simply unique' and 'it will be impossible to fill the space he leaves in our hearts'
His 1987 album Unchain My Heart was nominated for a Grammy, although it did not win.
Cocker was nominated for a Brit Award for Best British Male in 1993 and, in 2007, the rock legend was awarded the OBE for services to the music industry.
The singer never stopped releasing new material, topping the charts in Germany just last year.
His last gig came in Hammersmith, London, in June, 2013.
One of the British pop heroes of the Sixties, the former gas-fitter was as well known for his unruly curls and wild onstage gyrations as for his gritty voice.
On the road, he shared stages with the Rolling Stones and partied with Rod Stewart and Jimi Hendrix.
Cocker admitted that the rockstar life got the better of him, saying 'things began to deteriorate in 1972' after experimenting with drugs.
He was pulled back from the brink by his wife Pam, who he met in 1978 and married in 1987.
Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr paid tribute to Cocker, who was a close friend of the Beatles
Cocker, pictured in Rome in 1982, was also known for his version of You Are So Beautiful in 1975 and Up Where We Belong in 1983
Cocker admitted that the rockstar life got the better of him, saying 'things began to deteriorate in 1972' after experimenting with drugs
In an interview last year, he said: 'It was Pam who helped me get myself back together.
'She made me think positively. I was very down on myself. She made me realise people still wanted to hear me sing, and convinced me I could escape the downward spiral.
'So I kept going. In America, I'd become a cartoon character, but my European fans were loyal. Even when I was at my most crazed, throwing my shoes into the crowd at gigs, they stuck with me. That helped me to rediscover my focus.'
He calmed down and quit smoking in 1992. In a 2000 interview he said: 'I quit smoking cigarettes about seven or eight years ago. That's been the saving grace. That little "ooh-ooh" high-end falsetto was starting to get clogged up, and I was having trouble with my breathing.
'I'll never completely come through all those years of drinking and smoking and stuff. But I know people who prefer my voice today to how I sounded back then.'
The tributes continued to pour in as news of Cocker's death spread, with fellow rock singer Bryan Adams tweeting: 'Joe Cocker has died. RIP my good friend, you were one of the best rock singers ever.'
Classic rock songwriter and musician Peter Frampton said: 'So sad to hear of Joe Cocker's passing. 'You are so beautiful' is both Joe and Nicky Hopkins piano at their very best. Gonna play it now RIP'
Singer-songwriter Frank Turner tweeted: 'Wow. Sad to hear of Joe Cocker's passing. Incredible singer.'
Irish pop star Ronan Keating said: 'So sad to hear of Joe Cocker passing. What a brilliant and unique voice. Peace'.
Kiss rocker Gene Simmons tweeted: 'Sad to hear Joe Cocker has passed away. Our prayers go out to his family.'
Cocker, pictured with his mother Marjorie in 1970, leaves behind his wife Pam, brother Victor, his step-daughter Zoey and two grandchildren
Cocker was nominated for a Brit Award for Best British Male in 1993 and, in 2007, the rock legend was awarded the OBE for services to the music industry
The singer never stopped releasing new material, topping the charts in Germany just last year
Rick Wakeman, keyboard player for progressive rock band Yes, called his hit With a Little Help From My Friends 'sensational' and said: 'He had a voice that was just unique.'
He told BBC Radio 2: 'He was a very nice guy, as well as being a very talented guy.
'It is very, very sad for all his family and friends and for all who loved him. The great thing is with someone like Joe is what they leave behind, and that will be with us for years and years.'
He added: 'People talk about stage presence, and he really had it.'
Aerosmith frontman Steve Tyler said: 'We loved you forever, we will miss you always. RIP Joe Cocker.'
Comedian Ricky Gervais also paid tribute, saying: 'RIP the mighty Joe Cocker.'
Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe said: 'One of the greats, Joe Cocker R.I.P.'
Josh Saviano, who played Paul Joseph Pfeiffer in The Wonder Years, soundtracked by Cocker's version of With a Little Help from My Friends, said: 'We all lent Joe our ear, and he sang us a mighty song RIPJoeCocker'
One of the British pop heroes of the Sixties, the former gas-fitter was as well known for his unruly curls and wild onstage gyrations as for his gritty voice
Cocker's agent, who represented the singer for more than 30 years, said he was 'simply unique'
Away from music, the rock star enjoyed long walks in the mountains with his dogs, fly fishing, playing snooker with friends, and growing tomatoes in his greenhouse
Edgar Berger, chairman and chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment International, who signed Cocker, said: 'Joe Cocker is a legendary artist of rock and blues history and yet he was one of the most humble men I've ever met.
'His iconic voice will forever be etched in our memories and our thoughts go out to Joe's wife Pam and his family at this difficult time. Joe will live on in the hearts of millions of fans around the world.'
Mr Marshall, who represented the singer for more than 30 years, told the BBC he was 'simply unique' and 'it will be impossible to fill the space he leaves in our hearts'.
Away from music Cocker enjoyed long walks in the mountains with his dogs, fly fishing, playing snooker with friends, and growing tomatoes in his greenhouse.
He moved to Crawford, Colorado, a town of fewer than 500 people, in the early 1990s. He and Pam ran a children's educational foundation - the Cocker Kids Foundation - that raised funds for the town and schools, and ran a cafe.
He is survived by his wife, his brother Victor, his step-daughter Zoey Schroeder and two grandchildren, Eva and Simon.
Sir Paul McCartney remembers Joe Cocker, who has died
22 December 2014
Sir Paul McCartney has told the BBC that he was extremely sad to hear that the singer Joe Cocker had died.
The former member of The Beatles said he was especially pleased when he heard that Cocker had decided to cover the band's With A Little Help From My Friends.
"It totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful to him for doing that," he said.