One book leads to another...

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

D is for Dr. Hook

Lines of Inspiration
 Melodious expressions, Enduring Truisms


Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show

“I’m your friend; you can talk to me…”

Songwriter: Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show

The Band:
Consisting of three humble southerners; having outgrown a band called the Chocolate Papers, set out to blaze a remarkable trail of their own. But first, they needed a name. Glancing around the establishment they were to play at, George Cummings came up with ‘Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show’, which had nothing to do with the establishment, Dr. Hook the pirate (who wasn’t a doctor anyhow), or fellow bandmate Ray Sawyer, who wore an eyepatch (much like Dr. Hook’s) due to a nearly fatal car crash a few years prior. Though eventually shortened to just “Dr. Hook”, the name stuck and the band soared to fame with a dozen hit singles (several certified million-sellers) in as many years, albeit without much success in album sales.

The Connection:  Shel Silverstein!
Because of his poetry, screenwriting, and empathetic books for children, entitled “Where the sidewalk ends”, and ‘The Giving Tree”, because of his many contributions to the music world; penning such songs as “A Boy Named Sue” (Johnny Cash) and “Sylvia’s Mother”, popularized by Dr. Hook ;-) And because it’s the first Wednesday of the month – Insecure Writers Support Group day!  Shel Silverstein may not have suffered many rejections, but he sure knows how to roll with the changes, doesn’t he?
Happy Writing!

So, how about that line? Does it call to mind a memory? Instill a sense of wonder? Are you familiar with the songs, the writer, or the band?

There’s a whole lotta blogging going on right here!


  1. Hi, diedre!

    I've been waiting all morning for your post, dear friend. I was beginning to think you have a strong dislike for the letter D for some reason. :) I see that you are also pulling double duty today with the IWSG.

    With a catchy name like the Chocolate Papers, I believe this band could have become the next Beatles. :) It's interesting that Dr. Hook is from Jersey but managed to sound quite southern. I just finished listening to "Better Love Next Time," a disco style single released in the fall of 1979. By then disco was fading fast. There was a tremendous backlash developing against the genre because everybody from Kiss to DJ Rick Dees to to Ethel Merman was making disco records. "Better Love" has an arrangement similar to dozens of other disco hits and sounds rather stale these days, but Dr. Hook was on a roll, following-up their #6 charting previous single "When You're in Love With a Beautiful Woman," and the momentum probably enabled "Better Love," shameless disco ditty that it was, to brush the top 10. The following year, Hook followed "Better Love" with one of their biggest career hits, the top 5 single and international hit "Sexy Eyes."

    Thank you very much for the "music & memories," dear friend diedre! I'll see you tamale!

    1. Hi Shady!

      Shamefully late as I am, I've brought along best regards for everyone I meet today ;-) I'm reminded of a phrase "When it rains, it pours", but as I muddle through the clouds of extraordinary circumstance I also remember the words of Bob Marley (?) "Some people feel the rain, and some people just get wet."
      I really wanted to expound on that Chocolate Papers moniker. Talk about original ;-)
      Aw, shameless disco or not, the sentiment of the lyrics probably coaxed more than a few heartbroken rug-cutters back to emotional health before the near-demise of disco ;-)
      Initially, I intended to only include the lyrics wherein lie the Lines that intrigue me. But I abandoned that idea when I discovered the costs involved ;-)
      Besides, though words describe the feelings, music truly is what feelings often sound like. Don't ya think?
      Ha! You remind me of a saying we have out here: "Chili today - Hot Tamale"!
      Have a great day, dear Shady!

  2. Hi Diedre - I know of Dr Hook and some of those titles you mention ... I was thinking of 'A boy named Sue' yesterday ... but that's about me and this post - not terrible good at these - cheers Hilary

    1. Hi Hilary!

      No worries, all I mean to share are the lines and phrases that hang around long after the song itself has ended ;-)

      Have a lovely day!

  3. Before I started reading, Sylvia'a Mother burst into my mind! I was never one for taking medicine - except for when the good Doc H was handing it out!

    Meet Amble Bay's Dapper Dan!

    1. Hi Keith!

      I was surprised to learn that "Sylvia's Mother" was written as parody of youthful trials. I thought is was the saddest song I'd ever heard - back then ;-)
      Dapper Dan? He's not wearing an orange mankini, is he? This I'll have to see!

  4. I ADORE The Giving Tree. One of my favorite books of all time. Love how the band got their name. It's definitely unique.

    1. Hi Crystal!

      Oh gosh, yes! The Giving Tree, with all its interpretations remains one of the most highly pondered and widely coveted childrens books of all time. Silverstein's talents are extensive, aren't they?
      Like many, I always assumed that Ray Sawyer was the band leader named Dr. Hook - because of the patch ;-)

  5. How can one forget Dr. Hook? Great post,
    Thanks for the meories.


    1. Hi Yvonne!

      Thanks for chiming in ;-) Shall I venture a guess that your favorite song was "Sylvia's Mother"?
      I'm enjoying your A-Z posts as well!

  6. I like how you combined two posts in one, here. 'Sylvia's Mother' and 'Cover of the Rolling Stone' are the two Dr. Hook songs that I remember best.

    1. Hi there, Debbie!

      Thanks ;-) I tried. I simply must stop running around with my shoes untied - ha!
      I too like both songs you mentioned. In retrospect, "Cover of the Rolling Stone" might have combined right well ;-)

  7. Hi Diedre! I'm making the rounds today as an IWSG co-host. I enjoyed your post, and I learned that Shel Silverstein is a writer! I'm familiar with his books, but I had no idea he wrote "A Boy Names Sue" and other songs. Love Dr. Hook! Have a great day!

    1. Hi Fundy Blue!

      Good to see you ;-) Discovering the fun facts about Silverstein was indeed a special treat!

  8. Sylvia's mother has to be one of the saddest songs. I was never been a big fan of Dr. Hook and the Medicine show; but they still receive plenty of air time today. They have been popular.

    1. Hi Ann!

      I agree, the song is one that a great many young folks can identify with. I just heard it on the radio the other day ;-)

  9. I adore Shel Silverstein, but had no idea he had written songs.


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