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WE MEET DENNIS!!
Dennis in Weston
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ONE OF DENNIS'S MOST ENDEARING QUALITIES IS THE GREAT RESPECT HE HOLDS FOR ALL HIS MANY LOYAL FANS.

HE INVARIABLY MAKES HIMSELF FREELY AVAILABLE AFTER A CONCERT TO MEET AND GREET THOSE OF US WHO WANT TO CHAT AND TAKE NUMEROUS PHOTOS.

IT'S ALWAYS A TREMENDOUS PLEASURE FOR US TO HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY, AND WE THANK HIM SO MUCH FOR BEING SO APPROACHABLE.

PLEASE CLICK ON SUSAN GALLIOTT'S DAUGHTER SARA'S BEAUTIFUL PHOTO ABOVE OF DENNIS PERFORMING (THANKS, SUSAN) TO VIEW SOME LOVELY IMAGES, WHEN WE HAD A FEW PRECIOUS MINUTES WITH THE MAN HIMSELF.

THANK YOU, DENNIS.


2002 Tour Signed Prog
Sylvias Mother 45 label
DENNIS SIGNED THE 2002/3 TOUR PROGRAMME, AND THE LABEL OF THE ORIGINAL "SYLVIA'S MOTHER" SINGLE THAT I PURCHASED IN 1972, FOR ME WHEN WE MET AFTER RECENT CONCERTS.


Dennis at High School THE STORY

It all started back in the first few months of 1970. Well, not really - we have to go back in time somewhat to "set the scene", so to speak!

Dennis Locorriere was born on June 13th 1949 in Union City, New Jersey, a working-class area in the eastern United States, populated by factories and bars, on the far side of the Lincoln Tunnel from New York City. His mother Ruth was 19, his father Leonard just 18 at the time of his birth and never really lived long together. Consequently, the young Dennis was raised in his grandparents home by his mother, grand-mother and two aunts.

He inherited his motherís love of music and the arts and can recall his first-ever "public" performance (well, semi-public, actually!) as a 4-year-old in front of the families TV, joining in with "Santa Claus Is Cominí To Town" to much applause and the appreciation of those present!

Dennis            Dennis            Dennis

In his early teenage years, he formed a group - The Prodigal Sons - who never actually got beyond rehearsals at home on weekends! Drummer Dennis got to join in with the Hollies & Stones songs that the Prodigals practiced, but a short time later, his friend, bass player McClosky, was putting another band together and the charismatic Dennis was assigned as "front man". The first paying gig was at a Christmas Party - Dennis was no longer a drummer - he was a lead singer!

18 years old and a seasoned performer! Time passed, and as an older teenager, Dennis took to frequenting the local Union City/New York bars (not to drink but to listen to the many bands that played there). He made his acquaintance there with some colourful Southern guys. George Cummings had come to the Band Box bar, advertised and named a group - Dr Hook & the Medicine Show, but didnít have the personnel! So, he sent for Ray Sawyer and Billy Francis and now ex-drummer, bass player Dennis Locorriere - and they played the local bars together to some critical acclaim!!!

Dennis in Kellerman The band made a tape of songs for a guy in New Jersey who himself wanted to get into the music business. The guy - who was actually from a "textiles" background - didnít really know what to do with the tape, but he had "discovered" Dr Hook! In 1969, that tape found its way into the hands of Ron Haffkine - a musical director. A short while later in 1970, two songs were given to the band to learn and perform for inclusion in the Dustin Hoffman movie "Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me" was currently in production. Ron Haffkine, musical director for the film was an acquaintance of Shel Silverstein who was writing the score.

Ray, Shel & Dustin in Kellerman The fledgling Dr Hook & the Medicine Show met Haffkine and Silverstein, and the latter hit it off so well with Dennis, Ray & Co. that they were offered not only a small performing part in the film but the opportunity to record the filmís theme song, "Last Morniní". That exposure led to a recording contract, which was further enhanced when Silverstein offered the group his library of songs.

Dr Hook Photo It may not have been one of the best films ever made - in fact, it definitely wasnít! - but the subject matter and rather strange "suicide" ending (yes, it was a comedy!) is brilliantly encapsulated in the poignant, bitter Shel Silverstein lyrics of "Last Morniní". Taken completely on its own, itís a typical Silverstein song, beautifully performed by Dr Hook, but in relation to the film it is quite special. One of the songs on the second Dr Hook album, "Sloppy Seconds", released in 1972 after "Sylviaís Mother" was the first, gigantic hit on both sides of the Atlantic, "Last Morniní" wasnít a chart success, but it is a strong favourite of most Dr Hook/Dennis Locorriere fans.

Sloppy Seconds

After initial success early in the decade, the group was not faring at all well as far as sales were concerned when the single "The Ballad of Lucy Jordon" was released in 1974. It was also the title of a compilation album which was their swan-song on CBS, before their switch to Capitol with "Bankrupt".

Lucy Jordan-Cover "Lucy Jordon" - also released by Marianne Faithfull - wasnít a commercial success, but Dennis, Ray & Co. were touring the U.K. extensively, and thatís where the story really blossoms. It was the song that became synonymous with the beginning of the musical journey Iíve taken with Dennis Locorriere - 30 long, enjoyable years, and the end of the road is not yet anywhere in sight. Thank goodness.

Belly Up

So, I am a fan of long standing! Slightly older than Dennis, but younger (and less grey!!) than Ray Sawyer, Dennis's old buddy in Dr Hook & the Medicine Show. But it is Dennis Locorriere who is my "pop music" hero - the "hero" scenario relating very much to the quality of the songs he has recorded in a 30-plus year career and his wonderfully charismatic and value-for-money stage performances.

Dr Hook-First Album Cover My initial interest was awakened in '72 with "Sylvia's Mother" but it was that single "The Ballad of Lucy Jordon", released in 1974 and the issue of the compilation LP a year later, which grabbed hold of me and effectively turned me into a loyal "fan" of Dr Hook and the wonderful Dennis Locorriere.

I was Leader of a Boys' Club in Taunton in the 70's and the lads always wanted to watch "The Old Grey Whistle Test" on TV. They, being typical lads, hated the top "boy band" of the moment, the Bay City Rollers. So when Dr Hook appeared on OGWT dressed in tartan, with "half-mast" trousers - effectively taking the mick something cruel - they were immediate "fans" of this weird lot from the USA! OGWT


What a performance they gave that night on OGWT - live. We all collapsed in fits of joy when Dennis & Co. proceeded to strip off their tartan gear and emerge from behind a large white sheet in their usual, rather shabby denim!!



Sloppy Seconds back cover

True, the group were somewhat degenerate (OK - very degenerate at the time!) but this irreverent and slightly sordid image appealed to my hidden rebellious side and the naughty lyrics appealed to the lads.

Ray at Knotts Berry FarmRay at Knotts Berry Farm

Ray Sawyer & Ray Poole meet the same good-time girls (only the coat of paint has changed!!)

It was "Lucy Jordon" that I played and played at the Boys Club, night after night, in 1974/5, after watching that appearance on "Old Grey Whistle Test", and a number of members, including brothers Brian & Colin Chidgey, Management Committee Member and local community policeman, Dave Lodge, were also converted to big fans of Dr Hook, so we just had to see them live - on stage.

Bankrupt Promoting "Bankrupt", the group toured the U.K., and were scheduled to appear at the Colston Hall in Bristol in early 1975, and we were there, encouraged by Dennis to use the cover of the album as headwear!!! This scruffy lot up on stage entertained us royally that night. They were great (far better than Elton John, so the local press said!). Their stage act was truly unique. Fantastic entertainment ranging from comedy to pop to country to heart-wrenching ballads.

We were totally won over, and our loyal affinity grew and grew at the Boys Club over the years with more lads wanting the opportunity of seeing a group that although quite well-known, wasnít exactly the height of pop fashion at the time! Then later in 1975, smash hit album "A Little Bit More" was released. (Noel Edmondsí Morning Show on BBC Radio 1 extensively plugged this LP - thanks Noel, Hook fans will always be grateful to you!).

Club helper and stalwart, Toni Milton, was also another convert, as we toured the country from Birmingham to Cardiff to Bristol to Bournemouth over the years to share our love of the music of Shel Silverstein, the composer and lyricist of all their major songs, and the performances of Dr Hook & the Medicine Show. I was most pleased to accompany Toni when she renewed her acquaintance with Dennis again after a 20 year break at Weston-super-Mare in February 2003. A long time, Toni!

Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein became a sort of folk hero for me, and I was delighted when on my first ever holiday in the USA in October 1980, I was rummaging through some old albums in a large record store in San Francisco and discovered a long deleted copy of Shelís performances - including the material that he had given Dr Hook back in the early days.

Dennis & Ray

So now we were into the Ď80ís! Every release, every tour was anticipated with great excitement, but always for me it was Dennis who was the main man. A performer who could hold an audience captivated with a storyline in music. Breathtaking.

Dennis & Ray Every performance was sheer pleasure, but always one particular moment comes to mind - picture it (perhaps you remember it from experience).....Dr Hook troop off-stage - all except Dennis. Alone on stage with just his guitar, he builds the expectant audience up with a well constructed interaction with them, leading to this, his "coup de grace" in the 1970's and 1980's concerts.

We loved the change of pace from the frenetic clowning and harmonies of the whole group, but we didn't know then that it was a sign of things to come, 20 years later, when Dennis was the solo star, alone on stage with just his guitar - and a 165 minute performance! "Carry Me, Carrie" - a Shel Silverstein classic about a Bowery drunk imploring his Carrie to carry him that one more mile. It was gut-wrenching, it was bloody marvellous! It was then, it still is today and I guess it always will be. That's Dennis Locorriere.

Makin love n Music I do think Dr Hook lost their way somewhat, when their record releases went totally "disco" (commercial pressures) shortly before the split up. Later, I saw Ray Sawyer at the Winter Gardens in Weston, and enjoyed it, but it was always Dennis's remarkable voice that moved me. Most of my favourite Hook tracks have him taking the lead vocals - my all-time favourite is "I Can't Touch the Sun". It makes me very emotional every time I hear this superb song.

It's fascinating to analyse and evaluate Dennis's career phases. (1) Dr Hook & the Medicine Show (just "Dr Hook" soon after their initial success), (2) Dr Hook (without Ray Sawyer), (3) Retirement (semi) and acting, (4) Solo Performer. As a personal preference, the early phase in the history of Dr Hook - from the debut album "Doctor Hook" through to "Bankrupt" - was by far the most innovative and entertaining.

I recall that the live shows by the group post "Beautiful Woman" comprised as great a percentage of material from the early albums as to the "disco" era and Dennis's stage act of today is certainly not dominated by the 1981 - 85 output. Commercially 1979 to 1985 was more successful, but the quality output certainly majors from 1972 to 1979.

Dennis That's not to say there weren't some wonderful tracks recorded in the later years - some of Dennis's best ballads were penned at that time, but some of the later material is not always easily recalled. I am also very pleased to say that Dennis is including several songs in his latest stage set actually sung by Ray on the albums - "Soup Stone" and "Millionaire" being examples.

Dr Hook after Ray Sawyer's departure really couldn't recreate the wonderful chaotic atmosphere live on stage, and it was no surprise to me when the end came - a decision made by Dennis which was far from popular with the remaining members of the group. A vitally important ingredient of their performances relied on the interaction between all the members of the group - it wasn't just the songs.

Now we have two separate entities. Ray is touring as "Dr Hook" with Billy Francis - and doing his very best to recreate the past, while Dennis has, thankfully, returned to singing after a decade or more of other things, including retaining the link with Shel Silverstein until his sad death a little while back.

The Man Live

Following a genuine,Jesse James Locorriere sell-out "One & Only Farewell Tour" in 1985, the "retirement" of Dr Hook after 15 hectic years on the road all around the world saw Dennis return to Nashville, Tennessee. Jesse James LocorriereHere was Dennis finally spending time with his son, Jessejames - a budding actor/musician who was recently the lead singer of short-lived North American group, The First Second (a "chip off the old block" in many respects - see the photos to the left & right!) - which he combined with keeping his hand in, by writing some great new songs.

At the same time Dennis made "guest appearances" on many other major artistís albums including John Hiatt, Crystal Gayle, Travis Tritt and Randy Travis.

Shel Silverstein hadnít forgotten his old friend either. And in 1989, the great man contacted Dennis to invite him to perform a one-man play entitled "The Devil and Billy Markham". Dennisís foray into the acting profession was a tremendous critical success, the play ran for eight weeks at the Lincoln Centre, New York, playing to packed, appreciative, houses.

Dennis The lure of the stage was stronger than ever for Dennis Locorriere following "Billy Markham". He had promised his British fans - of which there were still many thousands - that it would be their country that would first see any re-emergence as a touring artist, so in 1990 he visited these shores for a small number of low-key performances. A year later a short tour was organised - his first as a solo artist. It was a greater success than anyone - including Dennis - had ever expected.

In 1992, EMI released a Dr Hook compilation album, "Completely Hooked", which saw Dennis returning for more than a month of press, TV and radio interviews plus major in-store visits promoting the CD. A few live stage appearances were also scheduled including the Crystal Palace Bowl for the American Music Festival. Tours of Norway and Australia followed on as "Completely Hooked" became a massive world-wide seller.

Bob Gibson & Friends

Dennis (1st left in middle row); Bob Gibson (3rd left in middle row); Shel (2nd left in front row). Also in photo - Tom Paxton, Peter Yarrow, Emmylou Harris & Friends!


Dennis fronted a R&B/Soul outfit "Lost In Detroit", again to critical acclaim, before another solo tour of the United Kingdom in 1994. Following this, Dennis was again a guest artist on many US-produced albums, including the wonderful "Makiní A Mess - Bob Gibson Sings Shel Silverstein". This superb album (truly one of my very favourites of all time!) was recorded shortly before the very sad death of folk king Bob Gibson - and also, of course, not long before Shelís own passing.

Bob & Shel
When not travelling or performing (which isnít really all that often these days), Dennis spends time at home in Sussex, England, reading, writing and relaxing (so he informs us!) before hitting the road again on another round of personal appearances, patiently posing for photographs and signing numerous autographs for his adoring and grateful fans.

If you have the opportunity of catching a live performance from the man, I honestly recommend that you take that opportunity, because not only is it highly entertaining, Dennis is a sheer joy to behold. Some artists give fine performances, Dennis gives everything.

Dennis Dennis has, thank goodness, returned to touring with a vengeance. And since 1999, it has been my privilege to see him on stage at Salisbury, The Brook in Southampton (where, in my opinion, he gave the very best performance I have ever seen), Weston-super-Mare (twice), Yeovil (twice), Torquay (twice), Great Torrington and in April 2004 his first-ever solo concert in London, at The Strand Theatre where I finally met up with another admirer of Mr L. from "Down-under", Lieselle, and her two charming sons, Sean and Alessandro - two delightful young gentlemen!

2002 was an upsetting year for Dennis, professionally and personally. Plans for a new album have had to be shelved when a deal with a record company fell victim of the company's demise. A DVD has been released, however, late in 2003, featuring his entire stage performance at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool, plus, in 2004, the release of a "Live in concert" double-CD on Shakedown Records together with a bonus hour-long DVD interview with the man himself.

The 2005 tour, was a spring-time bonanza for his fans with concerts taking in such diverse places as Babbacombe (a beautifully picturesque little place), Wimborne, Worksop, Tewkesbury, Skegness & Darwen! It all kicked off in March 2005 and Dennis was still "on the road" in June! I managed to catch the Yeovil concert in May.

Dennis's second solo album, "One Of The Lucky Ones", was released on Track Records to tie in with the tour. New Zealand and Australia were visited in November 2005 with a number of concerts arranged to satisfy his fans "down-under", and there are continued pleas from many loyal fans for him to return to his home country for an extensive tour there sometime soon.

Dennis's voice is richer, more soulful than ever and we can, I am certain, look forward to many more years of entertainment from this great star. His remarkable affinity with his legion of ultra-loyal fans is something truly unique in the often cynical world of popular music. In today's world, pop stars are fortunate to last one year, Dennis is nigh on 40 years into a rewarding and satisfying career. If that isn't testament enough to his sublime talent then I don't know what is!

In March 2006, after a short series of personal appearances in the UK, Dennis performed at a Track Records Special event in Cologne, Germany, together with ex-Strangler Hugh Cornwell, to celebrate the joint releases there of albums by both artistes.

2007 saw a remarkable resurgence in his popularity. He played to a 20,000+ crowd at the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark and an album was released to tie in with the "Dennis Locorriere Celebrates Dr Hook Hits & History" tour of the UK, playing to 35 sell-out venues including the famous London Palladium Theatre. The album hit the Top 10 and sold hundreds of thousands of copies. The fine artistes playing so well with Dennis were Mark Griffiths, Andy Roberts, Sev Lewkowicz, Clive Gregson and Martin Hughes. A DVD of the concert was issued immediately the tour ended - and, again, proved to be a massive seller, reaching the Top 10 in the UK. To the delight of his loyal fans, Mr. L. is back with a bang!! Another solo tour of the UK took place in the autumn/early winter of 2007, and he toured with the Bill Wyman Rhythm Kings, to great critical acclaim, in '08. A very enjoyable and revealing hour-long TV interview with Rick Wakeman was aired on Rock-On TV (Sky channel 378) in 2009, which most certainly opened the window a little more on the life and times of our Dennis. Further solo tours followed in 2009. His performance at the Plough in the small North Devon town of Great Torrington in September was most certainly a highlight of the Fall 2009 Tour.

The great man recorded a brand-new album, "Post Cool", which was released in March 2010, and a tour with "Tomorrow Road" - an excellent group of fine musicians - is tied in with its' release during 2010. I'm certain that there's even more to look forward to from this phenomenal artiste as the new decade progesses. Dennis remains one of the music businesses most hard-working stars, always out there doing what he - and we fans - love most .......singing all those great songs (old and new) to his adoring supporters. Wonderful!

Dennis The voice which for almost 40 years has created "Sylvia's Mother" now treats his loyal fans to nigh on a 3 hour stage performance comprising of old and NEW material - and we fans know, don't we, he is one of THE major talents in the world of popular music.

"Locorriere", translated from its Italian roots as "The Messenger", really does describe the man - a messenger for Silversteinís (and his own) wonderful heart-rending compositions.

So, my musical journey with Dennis Locorriere continues on itsí rewarding way. I may have diverse musical tastes (see the Top 50 section of this site), ranging from classical to west-end musicals via 60ís pop, but underlying it all is Dennis Locorriere - the voice of Dr Hook! Thank you, Dennis, very much indeed for not only the music but also for your kindness and genuine concern for all your fans, young and old. On a personal note too - thanks for the e-mails and your acknowledgement of one greying, balding male fan of yours from way back in '72 to...........

Dennis



A while-back, Dennis's website featured the fans favourite songs by the great man. Many listed their Top 10, but I have found it very difficult to reduce the list to such a small number, as I've so many favourites!

As a result, I have only been able to produce my Top 25 - so here is that list, together with details of the albums they are featured on:

1st
I CANíT TOUCH THE SUN
(Sloppy Seconds)



2nd
SHINE SON (Out Of The Dark)



3rd
CARRY ME, CARRIE (Sloppy Seconds)



4th
THE BALLAD OF LUCY JORDAN (Out Of The Dark)



5th
LAST MORNINí (Sloppy Seconds)



6 SING ME A RAINBOW (Doctor Hook)
7 WILD COLONIAL BOY (The Wild Colonial Boys)
8 YEARS FROM NOW (Sometimes You Win)
9 WHEN SHE CRIES (Doctor Hook)
10 THE MORE I AM (Out Of The Dark)

11 COOKY AND LILA (Bankrupt)
12 MORE LIKE THE MOVIES (A Little Bit More)
13 A COUPLE MORE YEARS (A Little Bit More)
14 I GAVE HER COMFORT (Pleasure and Pain)
15 QUEEN OF THE SILVER DOLLAR (Sloppy Seconds)

16 KISS IT AWAY (Doctor Hook)
17 THE COVER OF THE ROLLING STONE (Sloppy Seconds)
18 SYLVIAíS MOTHER (Doctor Hook)
19 YOU AINíT GOT THE RIGHT (Belly Up)
20 FREAKINí AT THE FREAKERíS BALL (Sloppy Seconds)

21 KNOWING SHEíS THERE (Pleasure and Pain)
22 A LITTLE BIT MORE (A Little Bit More)
23 DONíT LET THE SUN (CATCH YOU CRYING) (Out Of The Dark)
24 JUDY (Doctor Hook)
25 ROLAND THE ROADIE AND GERTRUDE THE GROUPIE (Belly Up)



Featured Albums - Details
Doctor Hook (1972)
Sloppy Seconds (1972)
Belly Up (1973)
Bankrupt (1975)
A Little Bit More (1976)
Pleasure & Pain (1978)
Sometimes You Win (1979)
The Wild Colonial Boys (1983) (Australian Release)
Out Of The Dark (2000)
One Of The Lucky Ones (2005)


(Page updated February 2010)




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