Music Interviews
12:50 pm
Sun February 5, 2012

Joe Cocker: The 'Hard Knock' Life Of A Singular Singer

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 9:03 pm

Joe Cocker has one of the most recognizable voices in rock — anyone who's heard his version of "With a Little Help From My Friends" can attest to that. The British singer has been belting out hits for more than 40 years, the biggest of which include "Feelin' Alright," "Up Where We Belong" and "You Can Leave Your Hat On."

But with all that success also came some hard times. Cocker has struggled with drugs, alcohol and financial debt, all of which he's discussed openly.

"I was about 26 years old, and I kind of felt indestructible," Cocker says, recalling the 1970 tour that spawned his famous live album Mad Dogs & Englishmen. "By the early '70s, the drugs and the booze took their toll. ... It was a long road back. A lot of times when you're young and carefree, you don't realize, when you tip over the edge, how difficult it is to climb back in."

Here, Joe Cocker speaks with NPR's Rachel Martin about his new album, Hard Knocks.

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