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Joe Cocker

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Sheffield, England (1961 – present)

Joe Cocker OBE (born 20 May 1944 - Sheffield, England) is an English / singer who came to popularity in the , most known for his voice and his cover versions of popular songs, particularly those of The Beatles.

Joe Cocker is the youngest son of a civil servant. In 1961 Joe by day, worked as an apprentice 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, and brought the house down.

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.

The servicemen, many from America’s deep south, loved Joe. The French called him “Le Petit Ray Charles”. 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.

Songs were written. Soon a demo found its way to Denny Cordell, the producer of The Moody Blues, Georgie Fame, and Procol Harum. Cordell liked what he heard of Joe, and soon set him up in London with a residency at The Marquee.

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