Back in the 1970s, Dr. Hook ruled the airwaves with hits like Sylvia’s Mother, Sharing the Night Together, and Sexy Eyes. Their slick brand of soft rock and disco might sound dated to modern ears, but back in the day, these satin trousered seducers were the height of fashion. If you’re a fan of cheese, sleaze, and disco balls, check out these 10 best Dr. Hook songs of all time.
10. Walk Right In
In 1977, Dr. Hook dug deep into the music archives and dug out Walk Right In, a country-blues song originally recorded by Cannon’s Jug Stompers all the way back in 1929. In the intervening years, the Rooftop Singers had stormed the charts with their revised version, which took the group to the top of the Easy Listening chart in 1962. Dr. Hook’s rendition wasn’t quite as big, but it still managed to reach No. 46 on the Billboard Hot 100.
9. Sexy Eyes
Described by forgotten-songs.com as a “simple love-at-first-sight song set on a dance floor,” Sexy Eyes is the very definition of a guilty pleasure. It wasn’t cool in 1980 and it’s certainly not cool now, but if you can’t resist a glitterball and a flared jumpsuit, this is the cheese-fest for you. Released as the second single from the album Sometimes You Win, it reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, tying with Sylvia’s Mother as the band’s highest-charting single. In the UK, it reached No. 4 – their last song to hit the top 30.
8. All the Time in the World
Albums don’t get much sleazier than Pleasure and Pain, a record that opens with the ultimate ode to one-night stands, Sharing the Night Together, and ends with the self-explanatory boogie of You Make My Pants Want to Get Up and Dance. It is, as All Music says, an album that’s appealing and alienating in equal measures. Like the rest of the album, All the Time in the World is very much a product of its time, but there’s a certain charm in that. Released as a single in 1978, it climbed to No. 54 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 12 in Canada.
7. Only Sixteen
Only Sixteen was originally a hit for Sam Cooke, who enjoyed a top 30 hit with it in 1959. Almost 20 years later, Dr. Hook revisited it for their album Bankrupt. Released as a single in late 1975, it was a big hit, charting at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 5 on the Cash Box Top 100, eventually certifying gold. The BBC didn’t much like it, though – when it was re-recorded for the 2014 album Timeless, they slapped it with a ban, a decision vocalist Dennis Locorriere described to recordcollectormag.com as “political correctness gone silly.”
6. Cover Of The Rolling Stone
Only Sixteen wasn’t the first Dr. Hook song to get in the BBC’s black books. Back in 1972, they decided Cover Of The Rolling Stone wasn’t fit for public consumption, not, as many people thought, because of the line “I got a freaky old lady name of Cocaine Katie,” but because they believed the band was selling a brand name. In fact, they were simply lamenting the fact they’d never been asked to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone. Ironically, the song’s huge commercial success got them their wish the following year.
5. When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman
Legend has it that the writer of When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman, Even Stevens, was so desperate to get his song on the radio, he followed producer Roff Haffkine into the studio bathroom and pitched him the song there and then. His tactics worked, and Haffkine went on to produce the song for Dr. Hook on the 1978 album Pleasure and Pain. The following year, it became one of the band’s biggest hits, reaching No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spending 3 weeks at No.1 on the UK Singles Chart.
4. Better Love Next Time
As per lyrics.com, Better Love Next Time is written from the perspective of someone comforting a despondent friend who’s lost a love, with the reassurance that they’ll find “better love next time.” Whether or not the advice did the trick, who knows, but the band’s fans certainly lapped it up, taking it to No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It also reached the top 10 in the UK and No. 7 in New Zealand.
3. A Little Bit More
A Little Bit More was first recorded by Bobby Gash for his 1973 album Sitting in the Quiet. The album didn’t make waves, and neither did the song, but in 1976, Dr. Hook gave it a slick update and turned it into an international hit. Released as the lead single from their album of the same name, it peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent five consecutive weeks on the UK Single Chart.
2. Sharing the Night Together
Sharing the Night Together, the opening track to the band’s 1978 album Pleasure and Pain, is the ultimate one-night stand anthem. Slick, saccharine, and dripping with sleaze, it’s Dr. Hook in a nutshell. If disco leaves you cold, you might want to skip it. If you’ve got a soft spot for Saturday Night Fever and corn, it’s essential listening. Released as a single in September 1978, it soared to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and scored the band a top 5 hit in Canada.
1. Sylvia’s Mother
At No. 1 on our list of the top 10 Dr. Hook songs of all time is Sylvia’s Mother. Released in March 1972, it was the band’s first big hit, reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 2 in the UK, and topping the charts in Ireland, Australia, and South Africa. An autobiographical account of writer Shel Silverstein’s attempt to revive a failed relationship, it sent the band’s popularity soaring, and still ranks as one of their most beloved songs to this day.