Paul McCartney in tribute to rock singer Joe Cocker
Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney has led tributes to rock and blues singer Joe Cocker, who has died at the age of 70.
Cocker, who was born in Sheffield and had a career spanning more than 50 years, died yesterday after a battle with lung cancer.
He was perhaps best known for his cover of The Beatles' song With A Little Help From My Friends, which reached number one in the UK in 1968.
Sir Paul said: "It's really sad to hear about Joe's passing. He was a lovely northern lad who I loved a lot and, like many people, I loved his singing.
"I was especially pleased when he decided to cover With A Little Help From My Friends and I remember him and (producer) Denny Cordell coming round to the studio in Savile Row and playing me what they'd recorded and it was just mind-blowing, totally turned the song into a soul anthem, and I was forever grateful for him for doing that.
"I knew him through the years as a good mate and I was so sad to hear that he had been ill and really sad to hear that he had passed away."
Beatles drummer Ringo Starr also paid tribute to his friend, saying: "Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends, peace and love."
Edgar Berger, chairman and chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment International, who signed Cocker, said: "Joe Cocker is a legendary artist of rock and blues history and yet he was one of the most humble men I've ever met.
"His voice will forever be etched in our memories and our thoughts go out to Joe's wife Pam and his family at this difficult time. Joe will live on in the hearts of millions of fans."