Joe Cocker
* May 20, 1944
United Kingdom, United States
Music group
Excerpts from Joe Cocker - With A Little Help From My Friends - The Authorized Biography by J.P. Bean, published by Omnibus Press, London and Hannibal Verlag, Vienna.

Joe Cocker (Sheffield, Yorkshire, England) - one of the truly great rock voices of all time - was born in Sheffield, England on May 20, 1944, 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.
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