R.I.P. Joe Cocker, the drinker with the unique raspy voice

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Much to our dismay, we said goodbye to one of the most famous male singers in the world on 22 December. The British rock icon Joe Cocker, born 1944, passed away after a battle with lung cancer.

Joe Cocker will always be remembered as the singer with the distinctive raspy voice, the amazing Woodstock ’69 performance and world-famous hits such as Unchain My Heart, You Can Leave Your Hat On and You Are So Beautiful.

But the blues and soul legend had another passion as well, especially during the 1970s. Apart from his critically acclaimed albums and performances worldwide, he became known for his heavy drinking and drug use. Joe Cocker would sometimes forget the lyrics of his songs or shout insulting things from the stage, as The Washington Post reports.

“When I first became successful, I was a beer-drinker from Sheffield,” he told Daily Mail in 2013. “Then I was thrown into the world of American rock.” But contrary to the image of a rock star, he gave up drinking in the late 70’s, probably influenced by his to-be wife Pam Baker.

Nevertheless, Joe Cocker retained his deep and emotional raspy voice, which is often associated with heavy drinking and became his trademark. Rest in peace!

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