Monday, February 03, 2014

Music Monday ~ A Little Bit More of Dr. HOOK

From a list of 3 February events through the years I spotted this:
Feb 3rd 1973- Dr Hook's "Cover of "Rolling Stone" enters Top 40 & peaks at #6"

The above video has pics of many Rolling Stone magazine covers, and is worth a look for that alone! The song's fun too, it was written by Shel Silverstein, as were several hits performed by Dr Hook in the 1970s and 80s.

Ray Sawyer, one of Dr Hook's vocalists (the one with the eye-patch) had a birthday on 1 February too....his 77th! About to launch into a post about Dr Hook, always a favourite of mine, I decided it'd be a good idea to check to see whether I'd already written about Ray and Dennis, or either of 'em in the past. I had, in 2010. Below is a lightly edited version with a link to the 2010 post within it.
There was so much more to enjoy musically in the 1970s, and '80s. What happened? I got older, then old, I guess. Even allowing for that inevitability, and trying hard to be objective, today's music scene is non-melodic, unmemorable and limp at best, when compared to back then. Have all the good songs already been written?

Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, later known as just Dr Hook - a fun rock band who, with the help of many songs written by the late Shel Silverstein, became internationally famous during the 1970's until mid '80s when the band broke up. The two vocalists pursued solo careers.

The band originated in the pubs and clubs of Union City, New Jersey. Names of founding members: George Cummings, Billy Francis (keyboards), Rik Elswit (guitar), Joey Oliveri (drums) have been lost in the mists of time, but vocalist Ray Sawyer (the one with the eye patch - result of a car accident) and Dennis Locorriere - he of the wistful voice on Sylvia's Mother, both retain solo careers, though with nothing like the acclaim they received in their Dr. Hook days. Dennis now lives, and still tours, in the UK. Ray tours in the USA and Canada.

Dr Hook, the band was first known for crazy on-stage antics and whacky humor. No doubt this is why Shel Silverstein felt a certain rapport with them and their style. Shel wrote a string of rather bawdy songs for the boys e.g. Roland The Roadie, Gertrude The Groupie, and better known The Cover Of Rolling Stone which later materialised! Soon though, both band and Shel(left) calmed down and produced some beautiful love songs and ballads, my personal favourites: songs such as More Like the Movies, A Couple More Years, Ballad of Lucy Jordan, and Sylvia's Mother. The band had other, non-Silverstein hits, of course, but without Shel's genius, I doubt we'd still recall Dr. Hook today.

There's more on Shel Silverstein in an archived post of mine:
"Man & Star....."

Ray and Dennis now-ish:

(At the 2010 post the natal charts of Ray, Dennis and Shel are shown with a few of my notes.)
Astrology throws up a strong hint of the compatibility between these two vocalists and the songwriter: all have Sun in Air signs - one from each, as it happens. Shel - Libra; Ray - Aquarius; Dennis - Gemini.

As well as easy rapport via Airy Suns, each has Venus, planet of music and the arts in a Water sign (Dennis: Venus in Cancer, Ray: Venus in Pisces, Shel: Venus in Scorpio). Water signs are the most emotionally driven and creative of all the signs. Interpreting Shel's songs seemed to come as second-nature to the vocalists of Dr Hook.

Ray's Moon would be in Libra whatever his birth time, compatible with Shel's natal Sun. Dennis's natal Moon could be in Capricorn, or in Aquarius if born in the evening, 7 PM or later - I'd bet on Aquarius, compatible with both Ray's natal Sun and Moon, and Shel's natal Sun.

Videos of individual interviews, from the 1990s, with Ray and Dennis are at YouTube: Ray: HERE. Dennis: HERE.

From the sublime to the ridiculous with Dr Hook:

And...the song in this post's title:


mike said...

I can't say that I was enamored by Dr Hook & the Medicine Show, but the group's raucous music was part of the landscape of my early adult life. They did write some of their own music, but were best known for putting music to Silverstein's words, which wasn't viewed as the ultimate creativity back then, or now. The group's music wasn't conducive to altered states of consciousness, either, which was a draw-back to success at that time.

A group that comes close now-a-day is Foo Fighters. Here's an article about how the Foo turned the table on Westboro Baptist Church and a video of their song, "Keep It Clean Hot Buns":

Twilight said...

mike ~ I do prefer their softer side, and there's lots of that, but am glad they were able to give Shel Silverstein's work a wider audience - in the UK for instance, where few had heard of him.

LOL! You make the 70s in the USA sound like the kind of place I'm glad I wasn't at! The altered states of consciousness thing that was deemed "cool" back then got old very quickly for me. I enjoy hearing it again, these days, from nostalgia for other memories of those times.

I see what you mean as to why Dr. Hook wasn't considered "cool" then though - neither was, nor ever have been, I" :-D

I'd heard of Foo Fighters but didn't know anything about them. Good on 'em for what they did to WBC!!!