Joe Cocker, whose intense, gritty voice won him wide acclaim that spanned both rock and blues, has died at age 70, his agent said Monday.
Cocker, who started off playing to small audiences in pubs in his native England, made a breakthrough when he jolted the 1969 Woodstock festival by playing the Beatles’ With a Little Help From My Friends which critics hailed as one of the rock era’s most successful covers.
Cocker, whose singing was accompanied by spastic flailing of his arms that led uninitiated audiences to wonder if he had neurological problems, later topped the charts with the love ballad You Are So Beautiful.
“He was without doubt the greatest rock/soul voice ever to come out of Britain,” his agent, Barrie Marshall, said in a statement announcing his death on Sunday evening.
“Hugely talented a true star -but a kind and humble man who loved to perform,” he said.
“His iconic performance of With a Little Help From My Friends continued to thrill audiences across the decades. He was simply unique,” he said.