Monday, March 29, 2010

The Cover Of The Rolling Stone

Sometimes rock n roll dreams do come true.

Just ask Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show: after scoring a hit with “Cover Of The Rolling Stone,” the band got its wish and made the cover of RS issue #132 on March 29, 1973.

Trivia: the group’s image on the RS cover was a caricature and not an actual photogragh, and the accompanying headline read: “What’s-Their-Names Make The Cover.”

“Rolling Stone” was from the Union City, New Jersey band’s 1972 sophomore release, “Sloppy Seconds.” The song speaks to the life of rock stars and the influence Rolling Stone magazine had in the early 70s; it was considered a huge honour to be on the cover and one that said “we made it” in the music business.

Interestingly, and perhaps not unique, the group performed songs written by an outside partner: poet, cartoonist and children’s book author Shel Silverstein. Shel had previously written hits for other artists, including The Irish Rovers “Unicorn Song” and Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue.” After providing songs for Dr. Hook’s 1971 self-titled debut, Silverstein teamed up with Dr. Hook et al for his own ‘72 release, “Freakin’ At The Freakers Ball.”

Funny how things work at the stuffy old BBC: in the U.K., the ‘Beeb’ refused to play “Rolling Stone” because they considered it as advertising a trademarked name, which went against their own policies. The song was actually re-released with a bunch of BBC DJs shouting ‘on the cover of the Radio Times’ over the chorus of the original Dr. Hook version. Talk about a conflict of interest and the ultimate in hypocrisy: the BBC was ok with promoting the Radio Times weekly TV/radio guide because they published it themselves - it’s hard to fathom just how absurd this is today and how the BBC was even legally permitted to re-record the song in the way that they did. Huh.

Stateside, “Rolling Stone” hit #6 on the Billboard top 100 (reached #2 in Canada) and came in at #51 on the year-end Billboard chart, just behind Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water” and ahead of Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors.”

Country legend Buck Owens did a parody of the song: “On The Cover Of The Music City News” appeared on his 1974 album, “It’s A Monster’s Holiday.”

Dr. Hook - Sloppy Seconds - Cover of the Rolling StoneDr. Hook - Sloppy Seconds - Cover of the Rolling Stone

Dr. Hook And The Medicine Show – Cover Of The Rolling Stone (1972)

Dr. Hook featuring (singer) Ray Sawyer (the guy with the eye-patch), still tours today.