With all of Cocker’s 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.”
Imported tea from England
Cocker hadn’t lived in Britain for decades, preferring to reside in the US with his American wife Pam Baker. “England to me was always the three o’clock break – that endless gap between lunchtime and the pub opening again at six,” he once said. However, he refused to give up his British citizenship and continued to import his tea from England. “I’ve been living in the States so long that I thought about becoming a US citizen,” he told the Daily Mail. “But I’d have to renounce my allegiance to the Queen. As a proud Englishman, I don’t think I could do that.”
Jane Fonda gave him pigs
Actress Jane Fonda apparently gave Cocker two pigs named Rita and Earl. After divorcing his first wife in 1978, Cocker moved into a ranch owned by Fonda in Santa Barbara, California, where he met his second wife Pam. They eventually moved into another ranch in Crawford, Colorado – dubbed the Mad Dog Ranch after his Mad Dogs And Englishmen LP. It was there that Cocker died of lung cancer this week.
Mistaken for a tramp
In the 1970s, Cocker was battling a heroin problem but managed to turn his life around. According to the Birmingham Post & Mail, the singer first realised his life was a mess in 1978 when two social workers mistook him for a tramp while he was waiting outside his lawyers office. With the help of his second wife Pam, he kicked the habit and enjoyed a commercial renaissance in the 1980s.