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Dr. Hook is a band from Union City, New Jersey, US that plays a wide variety of music ranging from country rock to soft rock. The band released several notable albums in the ‘70s and recorded several songs by the author/poet, Shel Silverstein.
Before Dr. Hook formed as a band three of its members, George Cummings, Ray Sawyer, and Billy Francis, were in a Southern band called “The Chocolate Papers”. The three members in the band relocated from the South to New Jersey and after they hired the New Jersey native Dennis Locorriere as their vocalist, they named themselves Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show.
After the band had created demo tapes that were circulating around, Ron Haffkine heard the tapes and wanted the band to perform some songs on a film that he was working on called “Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?”. The acclaimed poet Shel Silverstein wrote two songs for the movie, “The Last Morning” and “Bunky and Lucille”, which the band recorded. The film was released in 1971 and led to the band securing a record contract.
The band released their debut album “Doctor Hook” in 1971, which included the band’s hit single “Sylvia’s Mother”. The track was very successful reaching No. 5 on the US Billboard Singles chart and No. 1 on Ireland’s Singles chart. The song was written by Shel Silverstein and was later covered by the popular rock band Bon Jovi. Shel Silverstein would continue writing songs for the band’s later albums. For Dr. Hook’s second album “Sloppy Seconds”, Shel Silverstein wrote the entire album. The album was known for its eccentric crude sense of humor and contained the singles “Freakin’ at the Freakers Ball” and “The Cover of the Rolling Stone”. The album contained the band’ signature country rock sound and often conveyed sounds similar to Randy Newman’s style. “The Cover of the Rolling Stone” reached the No. 6 position on the US pop chart and was also featured in the film “Almost Famous”.
The band was very prolific with their album releases and released an album almost every year in the ‘70s. Their 1976 album achieved recognition for the title track “A Little Bit More”. Although the band never received extreme commercial success with their albums, they did continue to produce popular singles such as “Sharing the Night Together” and “When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman”. Towards the late ‘70s the band had already been through a few lineup changes and by the mid ‘80s the band had called it quits.
Ray Sawyer went on to pursue a solo career and Dennis Locorriere relocated to Nashville to write songs for other artists as well as to record some of his own solo material. Ever since Dr. Hook’s dissolution, Sawyer and Locorriere have ever so often resurrected the name to play live performances.