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Dr. Hook

Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show's sardonic, country-flavored pop/rock made them one of the most fondly remembered acts of AM pop radio's heyday in the '70s. Although the band had a reputation as a mouthpiece for humorist Shel Silverstein, who supplied several of their biggest hits (including "The Cover of Rolling Stone"), they didn't rely exclusively on his material by any means. And, during their peak years, they were just as famed for their crazed stage antics, which ranged from surreal banter to impersonating their own opening acts.

The band was formed in Union City, NJ, in 1968, when a young singer/songwriter named Dennis Locorriere teamed up with Alabama-born country-rocker Ray Sawyer. Sawyer's distinctive stage presence stemmed from his enormous cowboy hat and an eye patch that hid injuries from a serious car accident in 1967. Sharing the spotlight on guitar and lead vocals, the duo teamed up with Sawyer's bandmates from a group called the Chocolate Papers: George Cummings (lead and steel guitars), Billy Francis (keyboards), and Popeye Phillips (drums). Phillips soon moved home to Alabama and was replaced by local drummer John "Jay" David. Sawyer's eye patch inspired the nickname Dr. Hook, after the Captain Hook character in Peter Pan; with the rest of the band christened the Medicine Show (a possible drug reference), they began playing some of the roughest bars in the Union City area, concentrating mostly on country music out of sheer necessity. Anxious to find a more hospitable environment, the band recorded some demos, and in early 1970 their manager played the tapes for Ron Haffkine, who was working as musical director for the film Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? Haffkine had been looking for bands to perform the songs written for the soundtrack by Shel Silverstein, an ex-folkie, Playboy cartoonist, and children's author who'd penned Johnny Cash's hit "A Boy Named Sue." He took an instant liking to Locorriere's voice, and became the group's manager and producer, signing them to record "Last Morning" for the film soundtrack and also landing a deal with CBS.

Silverstein wrote all the songs for Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show's self-titled debut album, which was released in 1971. The single "Sylvia's Mother," a subtle parody of teen-heartbreak weepers, flopped on first release, but with some more promotional muscle became the band's first million-seller and hit the Top Five in the summer of 1972 (even if many listeners took it as sincere). That year, the band added a full-time bassist in Jance Garfat, as well as another lead guitarist, Rik Elswit. Their second album, Sloppy Seconds, was again written by Silverstein, and featured more risqué material, perhaps in response to the success of "Sylvia's Mother." "The Cover of Rolling Stone," written specifically to get the band featured on same, became another Top Ten smash in early 1973, and Rolling Stone soon granted the band's wish. However, following it up proved difficult. Drummer David left the group in 1973, to be replaced by John Wolters; the title of their next album, Belly Up, was unfortunately prophetic, and the band filed for bankruptcy in 1974 (partly as a way to get out of their contract with CBS).

Now known simply as Dr. Hook, they signed with Capitol in 1975, debuting with Bankrupt, which began to feature more group originals. A cover of Sam Cooke's "Only Sixteen" returned them to the Top Ten in 1976 and revitalized their career; although Cummings left the band that year, further hits followed over the next few years in "A Little Bit More," "Sharing the Night Together," "When You're in Love With a Woman," and "Sexy Eyes." 1979's Pleasure & Pain became their first gold album, cementing the band's transition into disco-tinged balladeers. However, Elswit had to leave the band for a year after developing cancer; he was replaced by Bob "Willard" Henke, who remained in the lineup after Elswit's return. Ray Sawyer, however, did not; dissatisfied with their newly commercial direction, he departed in 1980, robbing Dr. Hook of, well, Dr. Hook. With Rod Smarr replacing Henke, the remainder of the band switched from Capitol to Casablanca, with very little success; after a few bill-paying tours, they finally gave up the ghost in 1985. Locorriere became a session and touring vocalist, backing Randy Travis in 1989, and in 1996 recorded the solo LP Running With Scissors. Sawyer still tours under the Dr. Hook name, though he licenses it from Locorriere. Drummer Wolters died of cancer in 1997. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Comments

grew up with their music, thats all that was playing back home in the radio. thats back in the tongan islands.. love their music
takes me back to my earlier yrs
Cool sounds loved it
Oh! My God remember good time
I was raised in the Dr Hook era and loved it, still do!! When I listen to them a kind of peace comes over me. They seem to soothe my soul when I'm on edge and have turmoil around me. The music is pure classic and will always be!!! Thank you Dr Hook for being a Good part of my life!!""
titans338
I got hooked on Dr. Hook while listening to Carry me Carrie while babysitting iy reminded me of my dad RIP
jmpope0
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lover's name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works!
jncrntt
Oh, & another thing... We played Dr. Hook so often, that our 3 yr. old daughter kept going around singing " Get Your Rocks Off"
HAHAHA.....? ? ? ? . She still doesn't know to this day. Maybe I should tell her, ya think????
jncrntt
I Was "TOTALLY COUNTRY", (1976), until my Husband, (then BF),
turned me on to Dr. Hook. Now, their music is just a BIG part of my life. Deep, funny, raunchy, I LOVE IT ALL!!
I am a product of the 70's and dr,hook just help flam the fire. Awesome !
nmagc
I first saw Dr Hook in El Paso in 1973, boy that was a long time ago. I just loved the one song, The Soup Stone. I still think it was one of the best of the best. After all these years I think I have it correct. But I do not remember the driving home after that concert, Hmmmmmm
cadou812
WOW! I'm on about six minutes and have lucked out with Ambrosia, Little River Band and now DR. Hook! Keep the great stuff coming!
I got my 1st taste of love to Dr Hook, jeez that was one loving woman taught me what love making was all about
I learned to love Dr Hook by listening to Sylvia's Mother on the K-Tell Fantastic 22 vinyl album, and later, awesome eight-track tape (Along with 12th of Never by Donny Osmond, The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia by Vicki Lawrence, and even Gary Glitter's Rock N Roll Part II (never did find part I). Years later, I'm asking asking myself, Who's gonna iron my shirts?. Ah, well....I still enjoy their sound. (onebrad@yah o o . c o m )
i grew up with dr.hook i love them!!! music will never be what it was back them good times!!
No, I don't know how to paint.And dont touch beetle.Here chew on this peice of paper.Now eat some fruity peebles,they always look pretty the second time around.
No, I do not know who's Harley that is. Never seen it before.
the best
Dr.Hook rocks! Everyone should try them @ least once. Now I just have to update them to c.d.'s. The cassettes are about wore out!
Some of the first rock I grew up with!
Amen
love em too
I will always love Dr Hook. I never seen them live but I love em like they just started yesterday. They just never get old, just like the Eagles. They dont make em like that anymore.
"The Queen of the Silver Dollar" my all time favorite. It not only epitomizes my EX, but I guess every woman I ever dated !
Great romantic music, i love it
This was some of the music that I grew up on
stillyoung77
My very first rock show. VA St. fair 1970? or '71. And of course years later my kids grew up reading Silverstein.
love this song, but I'll always remember "and i call that true love" what a shocker at first, but great listening.
How can anyone forget Sylvia's mother, non other than Mrs. Avery.....JT
dlgarrison
Big fan of Dr. Hook. Never will be another like..
I was raised listening to this band.. I will continue listening and my kids as well.. my mom and I were big fans.. she has passed away so when I listen to this song it sends chills up my back.
perfectly cruisin'!!?. . < < , , o k . .
slapshot1894
Everything about Dr. Hook is first class and fun. "Queen of the Silver Dollar" and "Penicillin Penny" always take me back to a great time!
don't know if it's available on CD, but if you can find their "Bankrupt" album... buy it. these guys are having FUN.
Love the music!
wmovrich
These songs bring me back to 1979 when I was flying to Zurich. Dr hook will always remind me of that time, sitting in the plane with my earphones on,just trying to pass the time.
i love all oo dr hooks song
sassyjan
Couple More years is another of my all time favorites too
sassyjan
I LOVE THIS SONG "SILVIAS MOTHER"

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