Special tribute calls to honour Sheffield’s Joe Cocker

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Sheffield icon Joe Cocker already has a star on the city’s Hall Of Fame but calls for another lasting tribute will be considered in the New Year. writes Graham Walker.

Council leader and fan Julie Dore says it is important to celebrate the life of the city’s first global superstar and inspire others, following his death, aged 70.

One reader has already pledged £500 to get the ball rolling.

Coun Dore, paying personal and civic tributes to the Sheffield singer, said: “His death is a sad loss. I am sure there will be calls for a statue and all kinds of other things. Perhaps a plaque where he was born.

“From a global perspective he took sheffied music to the world stage. He also crossed all musical tastes.

“I was a fan myself. It would be great to celebrate his life and do something to inspire other young people in the city. We will definitely give it a lot of thought in the New Year.”

John Mothersole, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council, added: “His was one of the great voices of music and as an internationally recognised ambassador for our city he was one of Sheffield’s finest sons.”

A reader, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: “I wasn’t particularly a Cocker fan but he was significant. I’ll donate £500 towards the cost of something, provided it’s of the right scale, appropriate and the local authority stumps up proportionate contributions.

“Talent as rare as his should be celebrated and remembered. I’m not sure what form it should take - festival, statue, etc. but something meaningful.”

Cocker never forgot his roots as Saxon founder Graham Oliver told in his tribute.

He said: “When I met Joe Cocker last year in Berlin the very first thing he said was, ‘how is Frank White and Kenny Slade?’, his musician friends from his early days in Sheffield. Although he was happy in Colorado he still had Sheffield and his early friends in his heart.”

St Elmo’s Fire hit maker John Parr said: “Joe was a true original. His like will not be seen again. A Sheffield lad who was touched by greatness.”

Sheffield Sixties star Dave Berry said: “I’m absolutely devastated. I grew up with Joe. He was a true artist.”

* How would you like to see Joe Cocker remembered in Sheffield? Email news@thestar.co.uk. More tributes p14-15.