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Joe Cocker — Transitions at the Age of 70

Joe Cocker: "Live" at Woodstock.

After Cocker got his big break by covering The Beatles' With A Little Help From My Friends, which went to number one in the UK in 1968, the Fab Four sent him a telegram of congratulation.

The Sheffield-born star later recalled how Sir Paul McCartney once told him his rendition was "clearly the definitive version of the song".

Meanwhile, R&B legend Ray Charles was said to have described Cocker as one of the three best blues singers in the world - along with Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye.

Compliments like that show the respect Cocker commanded for his vocal prowess.

With A Little Help From My Friends demonstrated to the world how Cocker could breathe new life into a great composition.

The song had originally appeared on The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper album in 1967 in a jaunty version sung by Ringo Starr.

But after Cocker got his hands on it, it was a rousing, primal, tortured anthem.

His howling performance at the Woodstock music festival in 1969, with his sweat-soaked curls flying as he rocked back and forth, made him a star in the US.
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