British singer Joe Cocker has died after a battle with lung cancer. He was 70. His agent confirmed his death to CBS News. Cocker died early Monday in Colorado.
Cocker was probably best known for his 1968 version of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends,” which also served as the theme song to the hit TV series “The Wonder Years.” He performed that song live at Woodstock in 1969, along with the tracks “Something’s Comin’ On,” “Let’s Go Get Stoned” and “I Shall Be Released.”
He had another hit in 1975 with the single, “You Are So Beautiful,” and in 1983 picked up a Grammy Award for “Up Where We Belong,” a duet with Jennifer Warnes. The song appeared in the Richard Gere movie “An Officer and a Gentlemen.” His other singles included “Feelin’ Alright,” “Cry Me a River,” “The Letter, “You Can Leave Your Hat On” and “When the Night Comes.”
“We were a little bit spaced-out in the late ’60s. We also thought we were — I don’t know, we just thought we’d live forever and stay young forever and get taken up into outer space, you know, by a flying saucer or something,” Cocker — known for his gritty voice — told CBS News in June 1990. “I never really thought of — I mean, my life as a career until just a few years ago.”
In 2007, he received an OBE at Buckingham Palace for his contribution to music. The following year, Rolling Stone ranked Cocker one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Born in Sheffield, England, Cocker got his start singing Motown songs in the 1960s at local pubs. In recent years, he lived in Crawford, Colorado, with his wife where they started the Cocker Kids’ Foundation, a non-profit aimed at supporting local youth through education, recreation, the arts and sports.
Cocker’s most recent album, “Fire It Up,” came out in 2012.
“Making an album, to me, is a bit like making a painting, you know, you’ve got 12 songs, and it’s color,” he said in a statement at the time. “I don’t like everything to be one mood.”