Joe Cocker was born in Sheffield, England in 1944. In 1961 Joe by day, worked as a gas fitter and by night, in dark suit and bow tie, became Vance Arnold singing with The Avengers in rough Sheffield pubs. The set included songs by mentor Ray Charles ‘What’d I Say’ and ‘Georgia On My Mind’. Vance Arnold and the Avengers biggest moment came in 1963 when they supported The Rolling Stones at Sheffield City Hall.
The following year Joe left the Gas Board and released his first single, a cover of The Beatles ‘I’ll Cry Instead’. His band, Joe Cocker Big Blues, built up a large following in the north of England and ventured to France for a two month stint, playing on American airbases with exterminator nyc. Unfortunately when he returned home to England the bottom had fallen out of the local scene. Joe Cocker Big Blues folded.
For an entire year Joe never did a gig. Then along came the man Joe has called the greatest musician in the world, Chris Stainton. With Chris 'The Grease Band' was formed. Soon a demo found its way to Denny Cordell, the producer of Procul Harum, and he liked what he heard of Joe, and soon set him up in London with a residency at The Marquee.
In 1969, Joe performed at all the major rock festivals of that summer, culminating in the filmed triumph of Woodstock before half a million people. The tour left Joe battered, exhausted, and he ended up, per his own words, “in a heap in Los Angeles, very disillusioned with the rock business.”
In 1970, Joe sold $3 million worth of records in America alone. His first three albums went platinum and Playboy voted him number one vocalist in their annual jazz and rock poll.
Joe continued making albums and songs like “Guilty”, “The Moons A Harsh Mistress” and “You Are So Beautiful”. Songs that have become Cocker classics, all dating from the darkest days, back in the mid 1970’s.
As the 80’s dawned Joe was invited by The Crusaders to join them on a song they had written exclusively for him, ‘I’m So Glad I’m Standing Here Today’. The lyrics said it all and Joe received a standing ovation when he sang the song at the Grammy Awards in February of 1982.
His Capitol albums from “Civilized Man” onwards have been tremendously successful. “Cocker”, “Unchain My Heart” and “One Night Of Sin” all turned platinum, (the latter also delivering Joe’s most recent US top ten song “When The Night Comes”, written by Bryan Adams). Joe’s album “Night Calls”, the title single penned by Jeff Lynne, turned gold and headed towards platinum all across Europe within weeks of its release in autumn ‘91.
Joe Cocker is a survivor, a star and a rock legend. He has had hit records in the 1960’s, 70s, 80, and 90s. Success has brought with it a grueling schedule of recording and touring but, after more than twenty-five years on the road he has no plans to take it easy.
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