Joe Cocker: With a LOT of Help from His Friends is the upcoming biography of the British blues rocker, whose dynamic stage presence and unique vocal grit wound its way through 40 years in the music scene. In tandem, the feature film rights have just been optioned by Lisa Saltzman, producer of Deception Road.
"Joe Cocker's story is one of ambition, talent, attainment, debilitating self-esteem, self-destruction, redemption, and finally joy, set in the most exciting and colorful era of popular music. Joe was a unique talent," said Saltzman. "As a singer, Cocker's gritty bluesy rock voice and distinctive performances rendered him a true original. He lived a bigger-than-life existence, and the film Joe Cocker: With A Little Help From My Friends will show the high points, the low points, the frustrations, crippling battles with his demons, and finally the exhilaration of a life successfully lived."
As a singer, Cocker was unmatched in his titanic delivery and even more memorably, his catharic-styled body choreography. With The Grease Band — keyboardist Chris Stainton, drummer Bruce Rowland, bassist Alan Spenner, rhythm guitarist Neil Hubbard and lead guitarist Henry McCullough — Cocker blazed to Number 1 on the UK charts with his rendition of the Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends" in 1968. He took that gospel hard rock version into the next year and electrified the Woodstock crowd which has become the stuff of legend.
His later stage career in the '70s was dogged with personal and professional issues, despite his rendition of Billy Preston's ballad "You Are So Beautiful" in 1974 and a beyond mythical pairing with John Belushi on SNL in 1976. In 1982, he and Jennifer Warnes dueted for "Up Where We Belong" and in the process, won a Grammy and Oscar for songwriters Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Will Jennings.
The book will be published by Yorkshire Publishing on Nov. 16. It is the first biography written about Cocker since his death in 2014.