This is a parody of the rock and roll lifestyle. It pokes fun at all the things that rock stars indulge in when they're successful: groupies, shady characters hanging around, limo rides, etc.
The group had a funny side and a serious side, but it was the funny side that came out on stage and framed their image. The pirate theme added to the novelty of the group: originally known as the Chocolate Papers, they took the name Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show after the character in Peter Pan, which also played up the eye patch worn by their singer Ray Sawyer, who many people assumed was "Dr. Hook." Sawyer wore the eye patch as a result of a car accident.
The group made the cover of Rolling Stone magazine on March 29, 1973, three months after this song was released. The text next to their picture read: "What's Their Names Make The Cover." The song was great publicity for Rolling Stone magazine, which was only five years old.
For the story, reporter Jim Cahill followed the band on tour, portraying them (accurately) as a ragtag band of misfits who were making it up as they went along. Early stage shows for the band were a bawdy affair, with a lot of improvisation and revelry.
Dr. Hook singer/guitarist Dennis Locorriere never took a stage name, which made it tough on journalists before there was Google. In the Rolling Stone article, they spelled his name wrong.
Mitch Myers, who is Shel Silverstein's nephew and wrote the book Silverstein Around the World, told Songfacts: "I think that he was already hanging with Dr. Hook when he did it, but if he didn't, he had been around musicians, and he understood what people wanted. And he understood how every musician's dream was to be a star. To be a big star. To be on the cover of a big magazine, and what magazine epitomized music? And Shel lampooned the whole rock and roll lifestyle in that - groupies and Indian gurus - at the time. The Beatles and everybody, Donovan, and all those people were wearing Indian garb and going to see Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and coming back supposedly enlightened - or not. And everybody was still hustling, was all hustle. I'm not saying that anyone was insincere, I'm just saying that you can see people for what they are. And he did that, and made it funny, too.
Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show became such prolific interpreters of Shel's material for some reasons which would completely include their sense of humor. They were just a bar band from New Jersey, as much as Columbia Records tried to make them some crazy Cajun band that came out of the swamps. I mean, Ray Sawyer was from the South, maybe one or two of the other guys. But they were just a bar band, and were blessed with two great singers, both Ray and Dennis had fantastic voices. Dennis' was the one that was a little raspier and rougher, and similar to Shel's in grit, and Ray was a little bit more lascivious and a little bit more playful, and the chemistry between the two of them - although it did not last forever - was a perfect foil for Shel to use. And if it was a sweet love song, you know, Dennis might just do something very straightforward. Like 'I Can't Touch The Sun For You' off the first record. And not all their songs were novelty, and not all their songs were humorous, and not all their performances were gimmicky. But they also were not afraid to go over to Europe and perform on stage and get naked. I mean, they were just a bunch of maniacs."
The deep-voiced section ("I got a freaky old lady named a cocaine Katy...") was done by Dr. Hook guitarist George Cummings, who would put a bandana over the microphone when he performed it on stage. This muffled his voice a bit and was also more sanitary.
This was featured in the 2000 movie Almost Famous, about a 15-year-old reporter writing an article for Rolling Stone. The band he is writing about sings this when they find out they made the cover. The director, Cameron Crowe, was once a reporter for Rolling Stone.
The BBC refused to play this because it violated their rule stating that songs could not mention trademarked products by brand name (the Kinks had to change "Coca-Cola" to "Cherry Cola" in their song "Lola" to get around the rule). CBS Records responded by setting up a phone line that would play the song to anyone willing to dial in, which helped build the buzz. The BBC was only able to play the song after some of their DJs edited themselves shouting the words "Radio Times" over "Rolling Stone" (Radio Times was a show on the BBC). Rumor was that Dr. Hook recorded the "Radio Times" version, but they never had to.
Jennifur Sun from RamonaDave-Wheaton, Il you may be able to find out from google. Or if the band has a web page on Facebook.
Dave from Wheaton, IlWho was the deep-voiced member who kept sayin' 'Beautiful'? Please let us know.
Susan from Atlanta, GaA friend of mine whose mother's name was Rose used to call her mother "Katie", borrowing on the line, "I got a freaky old lady name of Cocaine Katie". For a fact, her mother was a freaky old lady, so it fit.
Carolyn from Knoville, TnThis is one of the funniest song videos ever by Dr. Hook. It was "covered" by Buck Owens and Roy Clark. Their version was "The Cover of the Music City News", and unlike Dr. Hook, they actually made the cover!
Grant from Port Pirie, AustraliaIf you watch this on YouTube, in about the first 10 secs the organ player on the far left of screen nearly topples over, he stumbles into the speakers or something and then rights himself, obviously due to gruelling concert demands........yer right!!
B.l. from Barry, TxLove this song, and there's a sort of follow-up in the later appropriately-named album "Bankrupt" called "Everybody's Makin' It Big But Me." However, "Makin' It" is from the prospective that that the band has yet to become famous enough to grace the cover of "Rolling Stone."
Barry from Sauquoit, NyBetween December 1972 and April 1979 Dr. Hook had four releases that made the Top 10; interestingly all four peaked at #6; The Cover of "Rolling Stone", Only Sixteen, Sharing the Night Together, and When You're in Love With A Beautiful Girl...
Paul from Marysville, WaGreat song. But my friend and I were initially confused because we were in grade school when it came out and we'd only heard of the british group The Rolling Stones-- and not Jann Wenner's magazine of the same name.
We were like "Why would they want to be on the cover of another band's album?"!!!
Doctorhook from Endicott, NyThe band Dr. Hook was NOT previously named The Chocolate Papers. T.C.P. was a different band entirely. The only similarities were that George Cummings, Ray Sawyer, Billy Francis, & Popeye Philips were members of both bands. Didfferent band, some of the same members. The Choc. Papers came years before Hook.
David from Youngstown, OhThe band did a rendition of this song on the old Mike Douglas show. Every so often, Douglas changed into some strange clothing and made a funny pose behind a set that was made to look like the cover of Rolling Stone.
Bobby from Nashville, TnLet's not forget the best of the whole bunch. Billy Francis !!!
Bobby from Nashville, TnShel was NOT a member of DHATMS.
Karl from Akron, , Oh Watching the video of Cover of the Roling Stone on youtube, George goes a little off the wall with his guitar solo. ( And what's with him and the red scarf over the mic? )
Dee from Cullman, Alif they ever have a come back concert with the ones that R still living I am there
Dee from Cullman, AlI love to listen to dr hook I think theyre love songs asre a lot sexyer than the songs today My fav line in cover of the rooling stones is buy 5 coppies for ny mother
Dee from Cullman, AlI love dr hook
Richard from Talladega, AlRay Sawyer, from Chickasaw, Alabama, celebrates his birthday today, February 1, 2008. He is still among the living.
Bianca Sanchez from Alburquerque, NmI saw their picture on the cover of the rollingstone on google. "We take all kinds of pills to give us all kinds a thrills." I love that line. I also love when hhe says "Im gonna buy 5 copies for my mother!" and someon else yells in the backround, "I want one!" LQTM.
Mark from Byrdstown, TnActually Dr.Hook did make the cover of "The Rolling Stone" after this song hit.
"I got my poor old gray haired daddy driving my limosine" is such a great line!
Christi from Gonzales, LaBuck Owens did a version of this called "On the Cover of the Music City News" which was the country music parody of this song.
Delilah from Staten Island, NyI wonder if they got on the rolling stones for that song? XD LOL LOL LOL
Ronda from Cornfield County, NeAnother Shel Silverstein lyric is "The Winner," recorded by Bobby Bare. I first read it as a poem in Playboy in the 70's. It's a cautionary tale about those who love to fight.
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Kidkel69 from Burlington, WiHey you guys I just opened The Largest on-line rocking reality show and music store. I use this site to check all the facts. Cover of the Rolling Stone Campaign 2007 Kidkel69 You Tube's one and only Rock Chic ALL THINGS ROCKING FUN! rockingfunmusic.com youtube.com/rockingfunmusic myspace.com/rockingfun music www.rockingfunmusic.com ROCKING FUN MUSIC The only On -line Rock-n-internet reality series and cyber-space music shop in the World! Over 1 million viewer?s! Google it and see! REALITY SHOW FILMED IN BURLINGTON, WISCONSIN HOP THE CRAZY TRAIN TO REALITY ROCK SHOP! FEATURING LOCAL BANDS, SCI-FI CAFE NEWS PACKERS AND COWBOYS Way to much to tell ,Come See! Over 200 shows! Who do you know? HELP PUT KIDKEL69 ?YOU TUBE?S ONE &ONLY ROCK CHIC? ?On the Cover of the Rolling Stone? Making Rock-n-internet history! www.rockingfunmusic.com
Heather from Huntsville, AlSo, Ray Sawyer died in 2002, huh? That's weird, I saw him in concert last year.
Andrew from Tampa, FlAmanda, I can find no reference at all to the death of the lead singer Ray Sawyer, and he'd likely be upset to know he had passed, too...
Ian from Lethbridge, CanadaIn all honesty, this song has one of my all-time favourite guitar solos.
Wayne from Roling Stone, MnLong live Dr. Hook
Darryl from QueenslandSorry, but the title shown is incorrect. This has come about because of the lyrics. It's officially just 'The Cover Of "Rolling Stone"'.
Nick from Tampa, FlSilvertstein penned a number of songs for Dr. Hook mostly invloving sex and drugs,including "I got stoned and I missed it"
Scott from Harrisburg, PaShel Silverstein was also a Playboy cartoonist.
Howard from St. Louis Park, MnAnother Shel Silverstein hit for Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. Though comical in nature, the song refers to drug use with the line "We take all kinds of pills that give us all kinds of thrills." Fortunately, the group did make "The cover of the Rolling Stone."
Amanda from Florence, ScShel Silverstein was not in Dr.Hook but I understand he was good friends with the band and was there during some recording sessions. the lead singer died in 2002. This was reported by Rolling Stone too.
Tara from Pt.arthur, TxWas Shel Silverstein a member of Dr. Hook or did he just write for them?
Trevor from Belfast, IrelandDid Shel Silverstein write 'The Ballad of Lucy Jordan'? Anybody know the meaning behind it?
Charles from Charlotte, NcSilverstein released an novelty tune in early 1973 "Sarah Synthia Silvia Stout". It was about a girl who would not take the garbage out.
Randy from Beaumont, TxAlso, the picture of them in Rolling Stone was printed up-side down