Joe Cocker, the British singer who was one of the first to popularize American soul music to the Woodstock generation, died Monday. He was 70.
Like many who grew up in working-class in England at the time, John Robert Cocker embraced American rock ‘n’ roll and R&B as a boy. He changed his name to Vance Arnold and, with his band the Avengers, played rockabilly in pubs throughout Northern England and recorded singles for Decca, none of which failed to chart. A few years later Cocker relocated to London and formed the Grease Band that focused more on retuning contemporary songs through a heavier sound and creating new arrangements that made songs uniquely their own.