Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr pay tribute to the late Joe Cocker

Cocker famously covered The Beatles' song 'With A Little Help From My Friends'

The BeatlesPaul McCartney and Ringo Starr have paid tribute to the late Joe Cocker.

Cocker died earlier today (December 22) following a battle with lung cancer at the age of 70. In 1968 he famously covered The Beatles’ song ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’. Taking to Twitter upon hearing the news, Starr wrote: “Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends peace and love.”

Paul McCartney issued a full statement, which read: “It’s really sad to hear about Joe’s passing. He was a lovely northern lad who I loved a lot and like many people I loved his singing. I was especially pleased when he decided to cover ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ and I remember him and Denny Cordell coming round to the studio in Saville Row and playing me what they’d recorded and it was just mind blowing, totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful for him for doing that. I knew him through the years as a good mate and I was so sad to hear that he had been ill and really sad to hear today that he had passed away. He was a great guy, a lovely guy who brought so much to the world and we’ll all miss him.”

Cocker’s agent Barrie Marshall released a statement regarding his death, saying: “It will be impossible to fill the space he leaves in our hearts.”

The gravely voiced soul and blues singer was born in Sheffield in May 1944. ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ was also the name of his first album, which he released in 1969. He released 22 solo albums in all, the last being ‘Fire It Up’ in 2012.

Other musicians have paid tribute to the singer on Twitter, with Frank Turner writing “Wow. Sad to hear of Joe Cocker’s passing. Incredible singer.” and Tom Morello commenting: “RIP Joe Cocker. Great voice & spirit. #IGetByWithALittleHelpFromMyFriends”. Up and coming singer-songwriter James Bay added: “Pretty devastating loss for music. One of the truest and greatest voices. RIP Mr Joe Cocker.”

Meanwhile, a friend of Cocker’s, musician Rick Wakeman was on Radio 2 and spoke about his passing, commenting: “He was a very nice guy as well as being a very talented guy.… It is very, very sad for all his family and friends and for all who loved him [but] the great thing is for people like Joe is what they leave behind, and that will be with us for years and years.”
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