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Joe Cocker… He Got By With A Little Help From His Friends!

Music | November 14, 2018

Joe Cocker WOODSTOCK, USA - British rock/blues singer Joe Cocker at Woodstock music festival on August 1969. (Photo by STILLS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

John Robert Cocker, BETTER known as, Joe Cocker, was an iconic British musician and singer in the groovy era and beyond. Cocker was best known for his rustic and gritty vocals as well as his unexpected and unorthodox body gyrations/movements while covering all genres of pop culture songs of his heyday.

In 1969, Joe Cocker performed the Beatles', With a Little Help from My Friends, at the epic Woodstock Music Festival.

Back in the groovy era, music festivals were all the rage! Joe Cocker definitely rose to the occasion, performing at many, including the epic Woodstock Music Festival. With a Little Help from My Friends, by the Beatles, was one of Joe Cocker’s No. 1 cover hits in 1968. Due to the positive feedback of his rendition of this iconic song, Cocker was invited to perform at the Woodstock Music Festival to the delight of his fans. He had an awesome performance and did not disappoint! In addition to his iconic performances in the U.S., Joe Cocker performed in the U.K., which is where his roots are.

Back in the groovy era, music festivals were all the rage! Joe Cocker definitely rose to the occasion, performing at many others in addition to Woodstock.

Joe Cocker was not born into a privileged family. Like most of us, he came from humble beginnings. While he was given the name of “John” at birth, Cocker was nicknamed, Joe, either after a game called, “Cowboy Joe,” or possibly a local window cleaner named, “Joe,” depending on the story you believe. Either way… we know him as Joe Cocker.

Two of Joe Cocker’s personal idols were Ray Charles and Chuck Berry.

Joe Cocker was interested in music at a very early age. Ray Charles, Chuck Berry and Lonnie Donegan were huge influences in his life and musical career. Cocker's first performed publicly at the young age of 12 years old after being invited to perform by his older brother.

Joe Cocker’s first official music group was formed in 1960 and was called, the Cavaliers.

 A young Joe Cocker and three of his friends formed a band and called themselves the Cavaliers. They were literally unknown at the time, so much so that they actually had to pay admission to get into the venues where they were performing... just so they could perform!

In the early years, Joe Cocker used the stage name, Vance Arnold. The iconic Elvis Presley was actually an inspiration to the group.

Vance Arnold and the Avengers was the name of the group Cocker formed early on. The band’s name was derived from a combination of the influence of Elvis Presley in the infamous, Jailhouse Rock and country music great, Eddy Arnold. One of the group’s first-ever significant music gigs was with the Rolling Stones in 1963.

As a result of his early success, Joe Cocker was signed to a recording contract in 1964 and released his first, ever single.

Joe Cocker’s first single was his rendition of a song by the Beatles that he covered. Cocker recorded, “I’ll Cry Instead,” alongside Big Jim Sullivan and Jimmy Page. Unfortunately, the single was a “no go.” He didn’t let it deter him, though, and the rest is history.

Over the years, Joe Cocker has been associated with different groups and many other successful musicians. He was one of those groovy musicians that appealed to the counterculture generation with his “working class roots.” He was groovy with a touch of rock & roll and blues and really stood out back in the groovy era.  

Joe Cocker was a British lad that entertained audiences for many years and eventually passing on at the age of 70. Nevertheless, Cocker certainly got the attention and recognition of music fans that he deserved. He is definitely a huge part of our musical nostalgia.  

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.