Joe Cocker dead

Joe Cocker, who has died at the age of 70. PRESS ASSOCIATION
Joe Cocker, who has died at the age of 70. PRESS ASSOCIATION

The death of music legend, Joe Cocker brings back memories of when one of Ireland’s greatest ever guitar players - Co Derry man, Henry McCullough - made history.

Guitarist Henry McCullough, from Portstewart, is the only Irishman to have played the legendary Woodstock festival in 1969, accompanying Joe Cocker. Henry still has the Les Paul guitar that he played on stage at the festival. He was in a relationship with Janis Joplin for a time, and has talked about the death of Joplin and many of his other friends like Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Keith Moon, as they succumbed to drug use and the excesses of rock’n’roll.

Today, after fighting a long battle against cancer, Joe Cocker died.

Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney has led tributes to the rock and blues singer, who has died at the age of 70.

Cocker, who was born in Sheffield and had a career spanning more than 50 years, died 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.

Henry McCullough, of course, was also part of Wings, formed by Paul McCartney after The Beatles broke up.

Upon hearing of Cocker’s death, Paul McCartney 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 today that he had passed away. He was a great guy, a lovely guy who brought so much to the world and we’ll all miss him.”

Henry McCullough himself has been suffering from ill health. Henry had a heart attack in 2012 and suffered from a lack of oxygen to the brain which has left him permanently damaged.