In the latest blow to a music world already shaken by the sudden deaths of some indelible icons, the passing of Joe Cocker today caps a difficult year of unexpected losses. Cocker, age 70, died today of cancer at his home.
Cocker provided rock with one of its most passionate performances when he took the stage at the landmark Woodstock Festival clad in tie-dye, gyrating like a mad man wailing resolutely. That famous posture helped sustain his career for the next 45 years, scoring the occasional hit while veering to the middle of the road. And that gravelly voice remained his constant, whether in the company of his group, the Grease Band, helming the sprawling communal combo dubbed Mad Dogs and Englishmen, or partnering with singer Jennifer Warnes on his biggest hit of all, "Up Where We Belong" for An Officer and a Gentleman.