Known to many as the bloke with the beard (and not the eyepatch) from 70s chart perennials Dr Hook, Dennis Locorriere’s solo career has now extended over three decades and expanded into poetry and illustration. He was born today in 1949.
Guitarist / vocalist Dennis Locorriere was born in Union City, New Jersey, USA. Growing up listening to the likes of Sam Cooke, seeing and hearing the Beatles for the first time would inspire the teenage Dennis to begin performing and song-writing.
By 1969 he’d made the short journey from New Jersey to Manhattan and began gigging regularly with a bar band, after first sitting in on bass and guitar. That guest spot soon became a more permanent arrangement and the group began calling themselves Dr. Hook and The Medicine Show on hand-written adverts for their gigs.
Their break came when invited to perform and appear in the 1970 Dustin Hoffman movie “Who is Harry Kellerman and why is he saying those terrible things about me?”. That led to an association with producer / composer Shel Silverstein, who would go on to provide them much of their repertoire including “Sylvia’s Mother” – the most successful track from the band’s self-titled 1971 debut album.
Touring constantly and opening for a host of acts ranging from Kiss to Stevie Wonder and Van Morrison, and shortening their name to Dr. Hook, more hits followed with the likes of “A Little Bit More”, “When You’re In Love With a Beautiful Woman” and “Sexy Eyes.” Founder member and eye patch-sporting Ray Sawyer quit in 1982, leaving Dennis to soldier on as the main vocalist, with the band eventually going their separate ways after a farewell tour of the UK in 1985.
Returning to his home in Nashville, Dennis contributed backing vocals for artists including John Hiatt and Randy Travis. Tempted back to the New York stage in 1989, he guested on Shel Silverstein’s one man show “The Devil and Billy Markham”.
A first solo tour of the UK followed in 1991 with Dennis performing new songs. However it took another five years for a debut solo album to emerge, “Running With Scissors” creeping out on a Norwegian label who quickly went bust. Supplying three tracks for a 1999 album of Dr.Hook love songs, a reworked “…Scissors” entitled, “Out of the Dark” finally appeared in 2000.
Invited to perform at the 2004 Glastonbury Festival, his second solo release, “One of the Lucky Ones” eventually saw the light of day the following year, following more label-related misfortune. Since then Dennis has toured on numerous occasions with a band included noted guitarist Clive Gregson, in addition to guesting with Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings for shows in 2008.
March 2010 saw the release of another studio album, “Post Cool” while 2011 began with Dennis issuing a book or poems and cartoons entitled, “Whatever’s Burning Now” – having previously added verses and illustrations to his online blog site.
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And here’s some footage of Dennis in action: