Throughout the 1980s, Cocker continued to tour around the world, playing to large audiences in Europe, Australia and the United States. In 1988, he performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall and appeared on The Tonight Show.
After Barclay James Harvest and Bob Dylan, Cocker was the first to give rock concerts in the German Democratic Republic, in East Berlin and Dresden. The venue, the Blüherwiese, next to the Rudolf–Harbig–Stadion, bears the vernacular name Cockerwiese (Cocker meadow) today.
He also performed for US President George H. W. Bush at an inauguration concert in February 1989. In 1992, his version of Bryan Adams’ “Feels Like Forever” made the UK Top 40.
In 1992, Joe Cocker teamed with Canadian rocker Sass Jordan to sing “Trust in Me”, which was featured on The Bodyguard soundtrack. At the 1993 Brit Awards, Cocker was nominated for Best British Male. Cocker performed the Saturday opening set at Woodstock ’94 as one of the few alumni who played at the original Woodstock Festival in 1969 and was well received.
On 3 June 2002, Cocker performed “With A Little Help From My Friends” accompanied by Phil Collins on drums and Queen guitarist Brian May at the Party at the Palace concert in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, an event in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II. In 2007, Cocker appeared playing minor characters in the film Across the Universe, as the lead singer on another Beatles’ hit, “Come Together”.
Cocker was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours list for services to music. To celebrate receiving his award in mid December 2007, Cocker played two concerts in London and in his home town of Sheffield where he was awarded a bronze Sheffield Legends plaque outside Sheffield Town Hall
In April and May 2009, Cocker conducted a North American tour in support of his album Hymn for My Soul. He sang the vocals on “Little Wing” for the Carlos Santana album, Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time, released on 21 September 2010. In the autumn of 2010, Cocker toured Europe promoting his studio album Hard Knocks.
Cocker returned to Australia in 2008 and again in 2011, the latter of which featured George Thorogood and the Destroyers as an opening act.
On 20 March 2011, Cocker took part in a benefit concert for Cornell Dupree at B.B. King’s Blues Club in New York. Dupree played on two Cocker albums: Stingray (1976) and Luxury You Can Afford (1978). Dupree’s band Stuff was also Cocker’s backing band on a tour promoting Stingray in 1976.
Illness and death
While performing a concert at Madison Square Garden on 17 September 2014, fellow musician Billy Joel stated that Cocker was “not very well right now” and endorsed Cocker for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Cocker died of lung cancer on 22 December 2014 in Crawford, Colorado. The two living Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, were among those who paid tribute to the singer, while Cocker’s agent, Barrie Marshall, said that Cocker was “without doubt the greatest rock/soul singer ever to come out of Britain.
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