Hi today I want to do a post on Dr Hook songs. I remember loving these songs and have spent many an hour listening to their greatest hits album.
Dr Hook – History
The core of the band Dr Hook started off playing together in a band called The Chocolate Papers. George Cummings, Ray Sawyer and Billy Francis had played up and down the east coast and into the mid west before splitting up. Cummings moved to New Jersey with the intent of starting a new band.
He brought Ray Sawyer to work with him and Billy Francis returned down South. They added future vocalist, Dennis Locorriere, a native of New Jersey as a bass player. Billy Francis then returned as the bands keyboard player.
They needed a name for the band so after a nightclub owner said he needed one to put on a poster in his club, Cummings come up with the sign, Dr Hook and The Medicine Show: Tonic for the Soul.
It is said that the Hook name was inspired by the eye patch that Sawyer wore. Sawyer had lost his right eye in a car accident in Oregon in 1967. It was also a reference to captain Hook, the pirate from Peter Pan, who incidentally never wore an eye patch. This led people to believe that Sawyer was Dr Hook, but when asked who was Dr Hook they always pointed at the bus driver.
Dr Hook – Career
They played for a few years in New Jersey, they also added drummer Popeye Phillips who had also been in The Chocolate Papers but he left to be a session drummer. He was replaced by a local drummer Joseph Olivier.
When they started recording, Olivier left to spend more time with his family and was replaced by session drummer, John “Jay” David who was then asked to join the band in 1968.
Their demo tapes were heard by Ron Haffkine a musical director for a new movie. He thought Dr Hook would be ideal for the soundtrack. The group recorded two songs for the film which was called Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? Locorriere sang on both songs, The Last Morning which was the theme tune for the movie and Bunky and Lucille, the band were seen playing this song in the movie. The movie had mixed reviews but it secured Dr Hook and the Medicine Show their first recording contract in 1971.
Shel Silverstein who had written the songs for the film again teamed up with the band for their self titled album. He wrote all the songs on the album. The album was released in 1972, featuring Dennis Locorriere on lead vocals, guitar, bass and harmonica. Guitarist George Cummings, Singer Ray Sawyer, John David on drums and Billy Francis on vocals, guitar and keyboards. The album sold over one million copies.
The single Sylvia’s Mother flopped at first but after a bit of promotion became the band’s first million seller reaching number 2 in the UK and number 5 in the US.
In 1972, they added a full time bass player, Jance Garfat and Rik Elswit on guitar.
Silverstein also wrote all the songs on their second album Sloppy Seconds. Their second single was called The Cover Of The Rolling Stone which was a fun single suggesting that you had made it as a band if you got your faces on the cover of The Rolling Stone magazine. They did appear on the cover in issue 131 (March 1973) albeit in caricature form and not a photograph.
in 1973 all was not well within the band, finding it hard to live up to expectations of the Sloppy Seconds album. They released Belly Up which was to prove to be a prophetic title as the bands lax attitude to business matters lead to bankruptcy in 1974. They continued to tour though.
In 1975, the band shortened the name to Dr Hook. They signed for Capitol Records released the album Bankrupt which was pretty apt. Unlike previous albums this one included songs written by band members. The hit single from the album was a version of Sam Cooke’s Only Sixteen. The song reached number 6 in the US.
For their next single Ray Haffkine had found a song on an album he had purchased for 35 cents in a flea market in San Francisco. The album was called Sitting In The Quiet by Bobby Gosh released in 1973. The song was A Little Bit More, the band covered the song and it reached number 2 in the UK and number 11 in the US.
The albums never matched the success of the singles unfortunately.
Dr Hook – The Singles
I will list the song name, the year released and the position reached in the charts in the UK and if applicable the US.
- Sylvia’s Mother (1972) (2) (5)
- The Cover Of The Rolling Stone (1972) Number 6 in the US
- Only Sixteen (1975) Number 6 in the US
- A Little Bit More (1976) (2) (11)
- If Not You (1976) (5) (55)
- Walk Right In (1977) Number 46 in the US
- Sharing The Night Together (1978) (43) (6)
- When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman (1979) (1) (6)
- Better Love Next Time (1979) (8) (12)
- Sexy Eyes (1980) (4) (5)
- Years From Now (1980) (47) (51)
- Girls Can Get It (1980) (40) (34)
- Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk (1982) Number 25 in the US
Dr Hook – The Albums
I will name the album, the year released and the position reached in the charts in the UK and if applicable the US.
- Doctor Hook (1971) Number 45 in the US
- Sloppy Seconds (1973) Number 41 in the US
- Belly Up (1973) Number 141 in the US
- Bankrupt (1975) Number 141 in the US
- A Little Bit More (1976) (5) (62)
- Makin’ Love And Music (1977) (39)
- Pleasure and Pain (1978) (47) (66)
- Sometimes You Win (1979) (14) (71)
- Rising (1980) (44) (175)
- Greatest Hits (1980) (2) (142)
- Completely Hooked – The Best Of Dr Hook (1992) (3)
- Love Songs (1999) (8)
- Hits and History (2007) (14)
- Timeless (2014) (9)
As you can see the albums didn’t reach the same level as the singles.
I think the video below shows what a fun band Dr Hook were.
I hope you enjoyed this look at Dr Hook’s songs, if you did leave a comment below.
If you enjoyed this post, connect with me and the other members over on my facebook group. I am trying to build up a community of people who love this decade of music.
I want to get people together to share their memories of the music, their favourite artists and songs of the 70’s. We all have those memories and they come flooding back to you when you hear certain songs don’t they?