Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show

Author: Terry


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Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show originally consisted of four friends: George Cummings on lead guitar and lap steel; Dennis Locorriere on guitar and vocalist as well as the band’s songwriter; Ray Sawyer, who wears an eyepatch as a result of a near fatal 1967 car accident, as lead vocalist and percussions; and Billy Francis on keyboards.

In 1968, Cummings brought the band together in New Jersey to perform in local clubs. Cummings is credited with creating the name “Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show.”

In early 1970, Ron Haffkine and Shel Silverstein heard some of the band’s demos. Haffkine and Silverstein were working on a film title “Who is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?” Silverstein was impressed with the band and became their manager and producer signing them to record for the film’s soundtrack and sealing a deal with CBS.

Silverstein wrote all the songs for Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show’s self-titled debut album, which was released in 1971.

In 1972, the band added a full-time bassist in Jance Garfat, as well as another lead guitarist, Rik Elswit and released their second album, “Sloppy Seconds” that included the hit song “The Cover of the Rolling Stone.” The song attracted the attention of fans that enjoyed their irreverent attitude and stage antics. It also actually did get the band’s caricature on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

Dr. Hook’s third album, “Belly Up” was released in 1973. “Belly Up” was a disappointment and the band filed for bankruptcy.

Returning in 1975 as ““Dr. Hook” sans “The Medicine Show,” they continued touring and releasing albums. Their 1979 album, “Pleasure & Pain” became their first gold album.

Ray Sawyer departed in 1982. Dr. Hook continued without Sawyer until 1985 when the band officially disbanded.

Other members of Dr. Hook throughout the years include drummers Popeye Phillips, Joey Oliveri and John “Jay” David and guitar players Bob “Willard” Henke and Rod Smarr.

Last known locations of band members include: Dennis Locorriere living in England and promoting himself as “the voice of Dr Hook;” Ray Sawyer living near Nashville with his wife, Linda; and Rik Elswit living in San Francisco writing songs and teaching guitar to students.

Band Members
Ray Sawyer
Born: February 1, 1937
Place of Birth: Chicksaw, Alabama
Influences: Hank Williams

George Cummings
Born: July 28, 1938
Place of Birth: Meridian, Mississippi

Billy Francis
Born: January 16, 1942
Place of Birth: Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Robert Jance Garfat
Born: March 3, 1944
Place of Birth: California
Died: November 6, 2006 from a motorcycle accident in San Francisco

Richard (Rik) Elswit
Born: July 6, 1945
Place of Birth: California

Dennis Locorriere
Born: June 13, 1949
Place of Birth: Jersey City, New Jersey

John Christian Wolters
Born: April 28, 1945
Place of Birth: Florida
Died: June 16, 1997 from liver cancer


  1. Bob"Willard"Henke

    February 07, 2011 @ 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Born: April 29, 1951
    Place of Birth: Reading, PA.

    I played lead guitar in the group, live and on the recordings, from 1976 to 1980.

  2. Bob"Willard"Henke

    February 07, 2011 @ 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m currently playing with “The Goose Creek Symphony”, a group I joined in 1968, and living in Arizona.

  3. Janet

    June 02, 2011 @ 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the info! I have always been a big fan!

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