Joe Cocker sent his solo career into the stratosphere with the definitive cover of the Beatles' 'With a Little Help From My Friends,' and the royalties must have made Paul McCartney and John Lennon a fairly tidy sum of money over the years. As McCartney tells it now, however, his reasons for loving Cocker's version had nothing to do with his balance sheet.

Paying tribute after Cocker's death yesterday, McCartney looked back fondly on that cover, which Cocker further made his own during his appearance at Woodstock in 1969. "Joe was a lovely northern lad who I loved a lot, and like many people, I loved his singing," he recalled. "I was especially pleased when he decided to cover 'With a Little Help From My Friends.' I remember him and [producer] Denny Cordell coming round to the studio and Saville Row and playing me what they recorded. It was just mind-blowing. He totally turned the song into a soul anthem, and I was forever grateful to him for doing that."

For Cocker, it was all part of a surreal launch from the working class to the world stage. "In two years I’d come from drinking beer in Sheffield to this," he said later of his Woodstock set. "I think I was the only guy who wasn’t on acid -- the band were out of their minds and didn’t tell me. I got off a helicopter and walked straight on the stage. It was very hard for the first half of the show, it was lunchtime, and there were all these people, and they were doing anything and everything but looking at the stage. Then we did 'Let’s Get Stoned,' the old Ray Charles number. That’s why our clip in the movie stood up, because by the time we did 'With a Little Help from My Friends,' we’d really got ‘em."

Watch Joe Cocker Perform 'With a Little Help From My Friends' at Woodstock

See the Yearbook Photos of Paul McCartney and Other Rock Stars

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