Friday, October 24, 2014

Dr. Hook, The #77 Artist of the Seventies*

Three members of the Chocolate Papers (lead singer Ray Sawyer, George Cummings (guitar), and keyboardist Billy Francis) founded this group, adding bassist Dennis Locorriere, who would become their lead singer.  When a club owner asked for a name to help promote the group, the members came up with Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show.  "Hook" was inspired by Sawyer's eyepatch and a reference to "Captain Hook" of Peter Pan fame.     

Dr. Hook played in New Jersey clubs, adding drummer Popeye Phillips, another former member of the Chocolate Papers.  He was soon replaced by Joseph Olivier behind the kit, but Olivier left shortly afterwards as well.  Session drummer John "Jay" David filled in, and was invited to join the band in 1968. 

In 1970, the group's demo tapes found their way to Ron Haffkine, musical director for the movie Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?  Haffkine requested Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show record two songs for the soundtrack and, although the movie didn't do very well, it helped the group land a contract.

Clive Davis of CBS Records signed the group, and Haffkine took on the dual roles of manager and producer.  Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show released their debut album Doctor Hook in 1971.  Their first single was a stunning success, hitting #1 in Australia, and reaching #2 in the U.K. and Canada and #5 in the United States.

The following year, the group added bassist Jance Garfat and guitarist Rik Elswit.  The album Sloppy Seconds yielded another big hit--"The Cover of the 'Rolling Stone'", which landed at #2 in Canada and #6 in the U.S.

The group's next two albums, Belly Up! and Bankrupt, did well in Denmark but little anywhere else.  David's departure left the group without a drummer again in 1973, so John Wolters stepped in.  By this time, the band had shortened its name to Dr. Hook,  and they did score a hit from the latter album with their remake of "Only Sixteen", #3 in Canada and #6 in the U.S.

Founding member Cummings left about this time due to personal and musical differences.  In 1976, Dr. Hook released the album A Little Bit More.  The title song reached #2 in the U.K. and #11 in the United States.

Elswit was diagnosed with cancer, and Dr. Hook added Bob Henke.  Fortunately, Elswit recovered and rejoined the group, which kept Henke as well.

The band then hit a cold spell with five singles released before the 1978 album Pleasure and Pain.  Dr. Hook achieved a huge hit with "Sharing The Night Together", #3 in Canada and a solid #6 in the U.S.  Many radio stations had the song at #1 or near it. 

Dr. Hook then landed another smash from the album.  "When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman" hit #1 in the U.K., #4 in Canada, and #6 in the United States.

In 1979, the group released the album Sometimes You Win, which contained their last hit of the decade, "Better Love Next Time".  It reached #8 in the U.K. and #12 in the U.S.

Dr. Hook continued their success into the early 80's as a formidable act.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

This Date in Rock Music History: October 24

1960:  Neil Sedaka recorded eight takes of "Calendar Girl".
1960:  For the ninth week, "Kiddio" by Brook Benton held off challengers for the #1 spot on the R&B chart.
1962:  James Brown recorded the album Live at the Apollo, Volume I at the Apollo Theatre in New York City.
1963:  The Beatles recorded "I Saw Her Standing There", "From Me to You", "Money", "She Loves You", "You Really Got a Hold On Me", "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Twist and Shout" for a radio program in Stockholm, Sweden as they got ready for a five-night tour of Sweden, their first tour outside the U.K. 
1964:  The Rolling Stones played two shows at the Academy of Music in New York City.
1964:  "We'll Sing In The Sunshine" by Gale Garnett once again topped the Easy Listening chart for the fifth week.

1964:  Fourteen weeks had come and gone and no one could top one of the top albums of the early Rock Era--A Hard Day's Night by the Beatles.  
1964:  The Rock Era had been around for nine years, but it was beginning to roll as the Shangri-Las were steaming up the charts with "Leader Of The Pack", a move from 59 to 20.

                      The memorable song "Last Kiss"...

1964:  Manfred Mann continued to have the #1 song with "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", leaving "Dancing In The Street" by Martha & the Vandellas as just a great #2 song.  Many thought "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers would go to #1 and Gale Garnett's "We'll Sing In The Sunshine" was song #4.  Roy Orbison's former #1 "Oh Pretty Woman" was still hanging around.  The rest of the Top 10:  The Supremes were bidding for the second #1 of their career (on the heels of "Where Did Our Love Go") with "Baby Love", Chad & Jeremy were at #7 with "A Summer Song", "Let It Be Me" from Betty Everett & Jerry Butler", the Beach Boys couldn't advance with "When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)" and the Honeycombs had a hot song with "Have I The Right?", which moved from 20-10.
1965:  The Lovin' Spoonful performed at the Longshoremen's Hall in San Francisco, California.

1966:  The Four Tops began a tour of England at the Saville Theatre in London.
1969:  David Bowie opened for Humble Pie at the Empire in Sunderland, England.
1970:  Pink Floyd achieved their first U.K. #1 album with Atom Heart Mother.
1970:  Newcomers the Carpenters remained at #1 on the Easy Listening chart with "We've Only Just Begun".  That was week #3 for the duo.
1970:  Newcomers the Jackson 5 owned the #1 R&B song for the third week with their classic "I'll Be There".

   Neil Young had a Top 10 album...

1970:  The great Santana album Abraxas was the new #1, finally toppling Cosmo's Factory by CCR.  Led Zeppelin was already making noise and debuted at #3 with Led Zeppelin III.  The Jackson 5 moved up with Third Album while newcomer James Taylor enjoyed the success of Sweet Baby James.  The rest of the Top 10:  Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! by the Rolling Stones, the Soundtrack to "Woodstock" at #7, After the Gold Rush from Neil Young, Mad Dogs & Englishmen by Joe Cocker and the Carpenters entered the Top 10 with their first album Close To You.
1970:  Stevie Wonder had another winner as "Heaven Help Us All" moved from #78 to #49 on this date.
       R. Dean Taylor was being chased up the charts

1970:  Another of The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era* was #1 on this date--"I'll Be There" from the Jackson 5.  Neil Diamond's former #1 "Cracklin' Rosie" sparkled at #2 and Sugarloaf's biggest career hit "Green-Eyed Lady" was third.  The Carpenters were prophetic with "We've Only Just Begun" and Free headed downward with "All Right Now".  The rest of an excellent Top 10:  "Fire And Rain" from James Taylor, Dawn's "Candida" at #7, R. Dean Taylor had everyone talking with "Indiana Wants Me", I guess you could safely say that the Kinks were doing the same with their song "Lola" and Diana Ross was at #10 with her first solo hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough".
1971:  Don McLean released the album American Pie.
1973:  John Lennon sued the United States government, accusing it of tapping his phone.
1974:  David Essex starred in the movie Stardust, which premiered in London theatres.

1978:  Rod Stewart released the single "You're in My Heart".
1978:  Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones plead guilty to heroin possession.
1979:  The spectacular final Led Zeppelin album In Through the Out Door sparked a surge in past Zeppelin albums.  On this date, all Led Zeppelin albums were ranked in the Billboard Top 200.

1980:  Paul McCartney earned a rhodium-plated disc from Guinness Book of World Records as the all-time best-selling songwriter and recording artist.
1981:  Don Henley first debuted away from the supergroup the Eagles as his duet with Stevie Nicks, "Leather And Lace" entered the chart.
1981:  The talented and all-around great guy Luther Vandross took over #1 on the R&B chart with "Never Too Much".
1981:  Tattoo You was now ingrained for a sixth week at #1 for the Rolling Stones on the Album chart.  Journey's best album Escape was runner-up with Nine Tonight from Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band #3.  Foreigner's 4 was at #4 and Bella Donna from Stevie Nicks remained the same.  The rest of a solid Top 10:  Dan Fogelberg's double album The Innocent Age, Precious Time from Pat Benatar at #7, Billy Joel had #8--Songs in the Attic, Al Jarreau's breakthrough Breakin' Away and the Moody Blues entered the list with their comeback album Long Distance Voyager.

1981:  Kenny Rogers had the #1 song on the Adult Contemporary chart with one of his career best--"Share Your Love With Me".

1983:  Elton John released the single "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues".

1983:  Hall & Oates released the single "Say It Isn't So".
1987:  Sting led the way on the U.K. Album chart with Nothing Like the Sun.

1987:  Michael Jackson scored his eighth #1 solo hit and his 17th Top 10 out of 25 releases with "Bad".  Counting his work as lead singer of the Jackson 5, that already gave him 54 hits, 27 Top 10 hits and 12 #1's.

1988:  Poison released the single "Every Rose Has It's Thorn".
1989:  Simon & Garfunkel, the Who, The 4 Seasons, the Four Tops, Stanley, Idaho's Carole King and Gerry Goffin, the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, the Platters, the Kinks, Bobby Darin and Hank Ballard were voted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.  Induction ceremonies took place on April 4, 1990.
1992:  Simple Minds registered their fifth #1 album in the U.K. with Glittering Prize 81-92.

1992:  Swing Out Sister scored the new #1 Adult Contemporary song--"Am I The Same Girl".
1992:  Boyz II Men remained at #1 for the ninth week with "End Of The Road".  "Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough" by Don Henley and Patti Smyth, would have to settle for being one of the top #2 songs of the Rock Era.  

1992:  R.E.M. debuted at #2 on the Album chart with Automatic for the People.
1993:  Duran Duran had to postpone their tour for six weeks after singer Simon LeBon tore a vocal chord.

1995:  The Smashing Pumpkins released the album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
1995:  Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders sang the U.S. national anthem of the United States prior to Game 3 of the World Series in Cleveland, Ohio.
1995:  New York City declared it Tony Bennett Day.

1996:  Berry Gordy, Jr., the founder of Motown Records, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (on the South side of the 7000 block of Hollywood Boulevard).
2000:  Linkin Park released their debut album Hybrid Theory.
2000:  Shelley Fabares had a liver transplant after being diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis.
2003:  Ben Moody, a founding member and guitarist with Evanescence, walked out on the band prior to a concert in Berlin in the middle of a tour in Europe.

2003:  Bruce Springsteen pledged money to the Bottom Line, a New York club faced with eviction.  Springsteen had played at the club, which also hosted Stevie Wonder, Neil Young and Bonnie Raitt, among many others.

2003:  Shakira was appointed a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.
2004:  George Strait had the top album with 50 Years of Hits.
2005:  C.C. DeVille, guitarist of Poison, pleaded no contest to DUI and causing injury charges after he ran into a parked car in August.
2009:  Michael Buble owned the top album with Crazy Love.

2011:  Kelly Clarkson released the album Stronger.

Born This Day:

1930:  J.P. Richardson, Texas disc jockey who became famous under the name the Big Bopper ("Chantilly Lace") was born in Sabine Pass, Texas; died in the light plane crash February 3, 1959 that also claimed the life of Buddy Holly and Richie Valens shortly after takeoff.
1930:  Lewis Hamlin Jr., who played trumpet in James Brown's band, was born in Macon, Georgia. (Note:  some websites show his birthplace as Baltimore, Maryland, but according to The Bronzetone Center for Music & History, Hamlin was born in Macon, then moved with his family to Baltimore.)

1936:  Bill Wyman, bass guitarist of the Rolling Stones, was born in Lewisham, London England.
1937:  Santo Farina of Santo & Johnny ("Sleep Walk") was born in Brooklyn, New York.

1944:  Ted Templeman of Harper's Bizarre ("The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" from 1967) and later producer of the Doobie Brothers, Van Halen, Aerosmith, and Captain Beefheart, was born in Santa Cruz, California.
1944:  Bettye Swann ("Make Me Yours") was born in Shreveport, Louisiana.
1946:  Jerry Edmonton, drummer of Steppenwolf, was born in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada; killed in a car accident in Santa Ynez, California November 28, 1993.
1948:  Buffin Griffin, drummer and founder of Mott the Hoople ("All the Young Dudes" from 1972), was born in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, England.
1954:  Perry Lee Tavares of the group Tavares was born in  Providence, Rhode Island.  (Note:  some sources show his birthplace as New Bedford, Massachusetts.  According to the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame, Perry and his brothers were born in Providence, then later moved to Massachusetts.)
1979:  Ben Gillies, drummer of Silverchair, was born in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.

1980:  Monica was born in Atlanta, Georgia.
1986:  Drake was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Tomorrow on The Top 100 Artists of the Seventies*...

A group that not only conquered Rolling Stone but scored quite a few hits in the 70's.

#77 is up next on Inside The Rock Era!