Ray Sawyer dies, a band spokesman confirmed to Rolling Stone.
Ray Sawyer, singer for rock band Dr Hook & the Medicine Show during the Seventies, has died aged 81 after a “brief illness”.
The Alabama-born musician had joined Dr Hook in 1969, one year after he lost an eye in a car accident, which led to him wearing his distinctive eye-patch that made him resemble Peter Pan villain Captain Hook, which served as inspiration for the band’s moniker.
He founded the group with Dennis Locorriere, Billy Francis and George Cummings and was a member until 1983, releasing nine albums with the band.
Dr Hook is best known for their song “When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman”, which was a number one hit in the UK in 1979. Sawyer took lead vocals on their early hit, “Cover of the Rolling Stone”, a tongue-in-cheek song about the magazine and rock and roll fame. The song was featured in Cameron Crowe’s 2000 American comedy Almost Famous, when it is sung by the fictional band Stillwater after they learn they will be featured on the cover of the famous magazine.
In the song’s lyrics, Sawyer sang: “The biggest thrill we’ve never known is the thrill that’ll getcha when you get your picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone.”
Dr Hook did eventually appear – in caricature – on the front of Rolling Stone in 1973.
“Here was this little band from Alabama standing on the corner saying, ‘Hey, put us on the cover’, and it worked,” Sawyer later said, according to Ultimate Classic Rock.” “It was a dream come true.”
After leaving to pursue a solo career, Sawyer went on to spend much of his later career touring with a spin-off group named Dr Hook featuring Ray Sawyer. He retired three years ago, after health issues forced him to stop touring.
Locorriere said in a statement to Rolling Stone: “Although I hadn’t been in contact with Ray for many, many years it does not erase the fact that we were once close friends and shared an important time in both our lives. Deep condolences go out to his family at what must be a difficult time.