By Mark Frieser

Why is it so much of the music I love comes from Sheffield?

That’s the first thing that came to mind for me when I head the news today that Joe Cocker passed away after a bout with lung cancer.

He was, as my friends from there would say, a Sheffield lad, and for a guy who made a lot of his career off of other people’s songs, a damn good musician and one of the iconic voices of the 20th century.

His passing is a loss for me and I believe everyone who loves music. He was just awesome.

Joe popped up at different times in my life.

Like in the 1970’s when he was a bright spot (to me) in my hippie mom’s record collection performing “A Little Help From My Friends (with a humourous translation)“.

When I laughed my 10-year old self sick (like I did again today reviewing it) watching his duet with John Belushi on SNL

When I saw him play at some random late night concert at 3AM in Paris singing A Lighter Shade Of Pale

At the end of the day, he always blew me away.

Of course, with my sense of humour, his unique stage presence was certainly a part of it, but he quickly took you beyond that – he was an incredibly soulful, real and talented interpreter of music.

And that’s why his music has been used in so many iconic scenes in TV, Film, Ads and Video Games.  Once you hear his voice in a scene or ad, it instantly drills the narrative of the particular creative into your head forever like few other artists can.  

Here’s my favourite syncs of his music:

1.  ASPCA Ad – You Are So Beautiful

A totally effective tearjerker for a good cause. Cry, open your wallet and give some money to help these poor little babies.  ;-(



2.  Grand Theft Auto San Andreas – Woman to Woman

I bet most of you didn’t know the origin of “California Love’s” fat beats, did you? It was Joe Cocker – and you know what, GTA SA is the perfect place to use it:

3.  9 1/2 Weeks – You Can Leave Your Hat On

Perfect use of a song in a scene.

4.  An Officer And A Gentleman – Up Where We Belong

It’s a cheesy song – Richard Gere thought the song was too sentimental, Producer Don Simpson demanded it get dropped from the film, but Director Taylor Hackford stood firm and he was right – it set just the right tone for the final scene of of this film.

5.  The Wonder Years – A Little Help From My Friends

It set a tone and a mood for all the Boomers watching a show as adults in the 80’s about growing up in the 60’s. Just one question – why was that dad always so damn angry? I always thought he could go postal on poor Fred Savage at any moment. They probably should have taken his kids away, but I digress…

Write me at and let me know what your favourite Joe Cocker syncs were and we’ll add them to the list.

RIP Joe.