Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold 25

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Greetings to you, Mellow Gold-ians, and thank you for your patience as I manage my absolutely wiggidy-whack schedule. We’re back, and wimpier than ever! (Well, maybe not ever, but still…pretty wimpy.)

I threw you guys a clue yesterday:

The next Mellow Gold covers a track with a chorus that is meant to be a reassurance of love, but in truth, comes off more as a threat.

A few guesses were made, the most impressive being Matthew’s guess of “If You Leave Me Now.” (The least impressive? A tie between “More Than Words,” by Jessica and “I Touch Myself” by Pete.) Matthew, that’s a great Mellow Gold song, but it’s not the one I’m thinking of.

Dr. Hook – A Little Bit More (download)

I’m-a be honest with you: before this entry, I didn’t know a damn thing about Dr. Hook. I had heard of Dr. Hook as a kid, but naturally thought it was a person, not a group, and so I always got them confused with:

and:

aaaaaand:

It turns out, though, that the real Dr. Hook looks like….well…a hillbilly family getting their picture taken at the local Sears.

Stare at this picture closely, folks. For once, I’m not going to be snarky. I don’t need to, do I? This photo speaks for itself. Oh, and they also thought this cover was a good idea:

The biography of Dr. Hook is an interesting one, I’ll admit. But my time is precious these days, and would I forgive myself in the morning if I spent too much time relaying the history of these gentlemen, who in the above photo look like they’re caught in some odd Mummenschanz-meets-refrigerator-repairmen nightmare? Allmusic has a great bio if you’re interested, but if you’re not, here are Five Not-So-Interesting Facts About Dr. Hook.

1. Two Lead Singers, Three Eyes. The vocal and guitar duties were shared by Dennis Locorriere and Ray Sawyer. Sawyer wore an eye patch due to some injuries stemming from a car accident in the late ’60s. I’m not sure who sings lead on “A Little Bit More” – I think it’s Locorriere – but since I think it’s funnier to make the pirate sing it, I’m sticking with Sawyer. Don’t correct me if I’m wrong.

2. Dr. Hook Was Shel’s Light In The Attic. Shel Silverstein wrote all the music for their first album, the self-titled Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show (they later shortened their name), which included (but was not limited to) their famous “The Cover Of The Rolling Stone” and “Sylvia’s Mother.” Although he didn’t write “A Little Bit More,” he had heard the song on an album by songwriter Bobby Gosh and suggested Dr. Hook include it on one of their albums.

3. They Had Awkward Album Titles. Sloppy Seconds and Belly Up are just two.

4. They Impressed Clive Davis. The band bombarded Davis in his office and serenaded him with an impromptu concert, which secured their record deal. When Clive Davis eventually dies and they do a retrospective of his career, expect Dr. Hook to “accidentally” go unmentioned.

5. Did I Mention The Singer Wears An Eye Patch?

If I seem a little disinterested in Dr. Hook’s biography, it’s true. All I’m interested in is their contribution to Mellow Gold. And friends, these guys wrote some mellow shit. I know at least a few of you (Mike and Dave, I’m looking in your general direction) are wondering why I’m not covering “Sharing The Night Together.” Don’t worry, it’ll be covered here in due time, I promise.

So here’s my theory on Dr. Hook: They’re not really a mellow band. I don’t believe that their mellow hits were representative of their true emotions. They didn’t curl up into the fetal position on a nightly basis, like our friends Dan Hill or Paul Davis. I fully believe that the gentlemen in Dr. Hook were brilliant opportunists: they saw the reaction these other groups were getting from the wuss rock, and thought, “well, if these guys can get pussy…” Much like the jock who enters the senior musical in high school and pushes the master thespian to the sidelines, Dr. Hook set their sites on a collision course for Mellow Boulevard.

You know “A Little Bit More” is heading for Wimpsville fast within the first few seconds of the song. There’s some limp-wristed electric guitar, which is completely invalidated anyway by those smooth, dulcet keyboard tones. (I’d bet that early mixes of this song didn’t have any electric guitar at all, and it was only added after the guitarist threatened to walk out and join Sneaker.) The rest of the song follows suit: light acoustic guitar, those keyboards, and just a little electric thrown in to shut the guy up. Oh, did I mention the strings? Shit, yes: strings all over the goddamn place. And I’m pretty sure I heard a flute. A fucking flute! Dr. Hook, you’re shameless. I see through this ploy.

But did the women see through this ploy? That’s the question. I’d like to believe that they did, because, well, Dr. Hook were a lot of things (or maybe they weren’t; as you can see, I haven’t bothered to do my research on who they were), but subtle, they weren’t. At least not lyrically. Let’s review, mmkay? We’ll start, as Dr. Hook do, with the chorus.

When your body’s had enough of me
And I’m layin’ flat out on the floor
When you think I’ve loved you all I can
I’m gonna love you just a little bit more

….and that’s all we need. See you next week on Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold!

Just kidding. But really, isn’t this enough? Look at that first line: “When your body’s had enough of me.” That’s classic. I mean, shouldn’t the line after that be “I’m going to leave you alone?” or, at the very least, “I”m going to disconnect the phone so you don’t call the police?” But remember, friends: Dr. Hook were mellow poseurs. The chorus gives it away. I mean, it’s not really about her, is it? Sawyer’s saying, “when you’re sick and tired of all my one-eyed bullshit, too freakin’ bad! You’re getting more! I don’t care if we’re both exhausted!”

Dr. Hook were committed to the poon, you gotta give them that much.

(A little off-topic: listen to the chorus: doesn’t it sound like he’s saying “when YOU’VE think I’ve loved you all I can?” I’ve listened about 10 times and I just can’t physically listen anymore. My body’s had enough of the chorus and I’m layin’ flat out on the floor.)

These lyrics get better, believe it or not. Because now, Sawyer’s settin’ the scene. Somebody call the Mellow Gold Players! Verse one:

Come on over here, and lay by my side
I’ve got to be touching you
Let me rub your tired shoulders
the way I used to do

Ooooh! Point for Sawyer! Well done, my man! You almost lost her with the “touching you” phrase, but got it back with the massage tactic, almost as if to say, “what, you think I’m some kind of perv? I just want to give you a massage! Geeez!” I can’t help but wonder if I somehow subliminally learned this move from Dr. Hook. (It rarely works. Okay, it never works.)

Look into my eyes, and give me that smile
the one that always turns me on

Girl: My smile turns you on? Uh, okay? (gives awkward, full-toothed smile)

And let me take your hair down
cause we’re staying up to greet the sun

Girl: Wait, wait, we’re doing what? Wait a min….oh no!

See, at this point, Sawyer’s jumped on top of her. He perfectly executed a Mellow sneak attack: let’s pretend that I just want to rub your shoulders (thanks for the tip, England Dan!), and once your guard’s down, so is my zipper! You’ve just fallen straight into Dr. Hook’s Patented All-Nite Lovemaking Trap!™

During chorus #2, the poor gal’s just gasping for breath here and there. Silly girl. First of all, didn’t the swirling strings give you any indication that this guy was serious about seducing you? And secondly, didn’t your mother tell you to never go home with a guy wearing an eye patch? Luckily, she breaks away for a minute…prompting Sawyer to follow through on the second verse.

Got to say a few things that have been on my mind,
and you know where my mind has been

Girl: Yes. Thank you. You haven’t made it completely freaking obvious.

I guess I’ve learned my lessons
and now is the time to begin

(I don’t even know what the hell this means.)

So if you’re feeling alright, and you’re ready for me,
I know that I’m ready for you

Girl: Good. I was concerned. (grabs her coat, goes for the door)

We’d better get it on now,
’cause we’ve got a whole life to live through

Excuse me for a second.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

(deep breath)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Congratulations, Dr. Hook: NOW you’re Mellow Gold! See, before, I just didn’t feel you were really desperate. But with a line like “we’d better get it on now ’cause we’ve got a whole life to live through,” I can actually smell the desperation on your gigantic collar. (Unless that’s Old Spice.) I knew you’d get there – we just had to see how pathetic you could actually get, and I think I speak for all of us when I say you’ve really exceeded our expectations. Seriously, the only way you can get any lamer is by going with “But I’m dying of polio!”

Final chorus: I’m envisioning this poor girl crawling on the floor, desperately trying to get out. I think she actually makes it out. Thank God Ambrosia was caught in traffic!

And just like that, the song’s over. Let’s take a quick second to bask in the absurdity of this lame-ass attempt at seduction.

One final point before I sign off for today, and I thank Mike for bringing this up: there’s no shortage of bands like Dr. Hook these days – bands who don’t have the convictions of their passions and resort to cheap tactics to get women in the sack. But what if it all started with Dr. Hook? Is it possible? Maybe Dr. Hook begat Extreme, who begat Dave Matthews, who begat John Mayer who begat Jason Mraz who eventually, in some perverted way, begat Fall Out Boy. Sends chills up your spine, don’t it?

That’ll do it for this week. Expect us to revisit The Hook sometime in the future. Thanks for reading, and as always, see you next time for another Adventure Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold!

  • Seems to me the 70s were all about the date-rape.DwD

  • pbilly

    I don’t recall a lot of females being seduced, cheaply or otherwise, by Dr. Hook.  I do recall a few adolescent snickers from some rather large adolescents.

  • Jane

    My God, you’ve outdone yourself. From Dr. Teeth to Fall Out Boy?! But my favorite part was the “thanks for the tip, England Dan!” line. I guess it was worth the wait this week. :-) Thanks for the laughs!

  • David

    Hi-freakin’-larious. I can actually picture Sawyer delivering the “Dr. Hook’s patented all-nite lovemaking trap” line. He winks.

    Not that we can see it.

  • 1. I think it’s important to separate, as Jason has done here, the REAL sensitive wussies from those who would use the "trappings of wussiness" to callously attempt to score with chicks.
     
    2. Sloppy SECONDS?!?!?!?! Bwahahahahahahhahaha!

  • Bruce K.

    I just had to check in and see what you had to say about this crap.  Great stuff!  I lived through the era and this was one of the worst.  Just stupid, stupid, stupid.
    Bruce K.

  • I think it is also important to note that every member of Dr. John looks like a youth pastor gone bad.  DwD

  • Dang It!! I meant Dr. Hook!! See what you made me do, Jason?! Where’s the Electric Mayhem when you need ’em?!

  • This may be an obvious suggestion, and it might have already been made…has anyone brought up "Swayin’ to the Music (Slow Dancin’)" yet? I believe Johnny Rivers did the definitive version. Incredibly wussy yet beautifully smooth and it sold at least a million copies I believe.

  • And by the way I agree with you about Dr. Hook. These guys seemed like a rough and tumble bar band who figured out that mellow music gets the chicks and the cash. Gotta love "Cover of the Rolling Stone," which is more of a testament to the genius of Silverstein than those guys, but still.

  • woofpop

    Maybe Hook’s born-again wussness had to do with record company politics – the Silverstein stuff was mostly done when they were on Columbia records. The mellow stuff was on Capitol /EMI – home of Anne Murray, Michael Johnson, Little River Band, Kenny Rogers, Kim Carnes, Cliff Richard (there’s a future mellow candidate for you).. the list goes on. Maybe the contract was riding on it..   

  • I’d never heard this song before, and I don’t need to hear it again, but a great write-up all the same.  You made love out of nothing at all, Jason.  I used to like "When You’re in Love With a Beautiful Woman" and "Sharing the Night Together" when I was younger, but they don’t sound as good anymore.  Maybe I could sense the fake wussiness shining through as I got older, and now it’s confirmed.

    Another candidate for this series that I remembered recently is Wet Willie lead singer Jimmy Hall’s solo semi-hit "I’m Happy That Love Has Found You" from 1980.  It’s nice and smooth.

  • woofpop

    Ooh yeah… "I’m Happy That Love Has Found You" – awesome call, Robert!
     "a hillbilly family getting their picture taken at the local Sears" – that line is perfection.
    Dr. Hook. so. icky. Then and now.

  • woofpop

    Another contender – "Crazy Love" by Poco. So perfectly mellow.

  • BD

    Yeah, but Dr. Teeth had Animal playing drums, so Dr. Hook can’t possibly compete with that.

  • Elaine

    Oh my. I’ve never heard this particular piece of crap before. It’s horrible. It’s … mellow porn. Disgusting. Bravado-manhood-alphamale “proving” under the guise of true love and a string section, and we better hurry so we don’t miss “CHiPs” on tv tonight. Good gravy. Plus he sounds exactly like Randy Newman!

  • "Dr. Hook were committed to the poon, you gotta give them that much."  I did some serious spit-taking when I read that line. Same goes for the line about smelling "the desperation on your gigantic collar." These guys are creepy in so many ways. You should check out their last top 40 hit, another none-too-subtle little ditty called "Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk." Oy.

  • BD

    There’s a SCTV sketch in which they’ve made a film called "Polynesiantown," a film noir about the sabotaging of a new restaurant’s opening. The peak of the dialogue:"The ribs have been poisoned!""We’ve got to warn Dr. John!!"That and the argument of the definition of irony (with Dr. John essentially mediating) always cracked me up for some reason.

  • Tim

    I don’t think the desparation smell was Old Spice. I am betting on either Hi Karate, or Sex Panther!

  • Ah, "SCTV" … they used their musical guests so well.  I really liked their "Jazz Singer" parody with Al Jarreau as well.

  • BD

    And you can’t forget The Tubes’ appearance on "The Fishin’ Musician."

  • I don’t know if I ever saw the full version of that sketch in syndication, but I think it’s on one of the DVD volumes I own.  (I’m terrible about watching the DVDs I buy, which is why I pretty much stopped buying them a few years ago.)  I do remember them singing "Talk to You Later," maybe, on the Lola Heatherton "Bouncin’ Back to You" special once it was determined that Lola was too stoned to keep performing.

  • This must be the only group featured on Mellow Gold to have recorded songs about groupies, getting stoned, looking for pussy, and catching the clap!