In Memoriam: Ray Sawyer (1937 – 2018)

January 1, 2019
Editor In Chief

Ray Sawyer (February 1, 1937 – December 31, 2018) was an American singer and vocalist with the 1970s rock band, Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show. Though primarily a backing vocalist and occasional percussionist on congas or maracas, he sang lead on their hit song “The Cover of Rolling Stone” and was a recognisable presence in the band owing to the eyepatch and cowboy hat he wore. He was also the uncle of the vocalist of Wild Fire, Zack Sawyer.

Sawyer lost his right eye in a 1967 automobile accident. He said the following about his life around the time of his accident: “I must have played all the clubs from Houston to Charleston until I decided I was going insane from too much beans and music, and I gave it up. I saw a John Wayne movie and proceeded to Portland, Oregon, to be a logger complete with plaid shirt, caulk boots, and pike pole. On the way my car slipped on the road and the accident left me with the eye patch I now wear. When I recovered I ran straight back to the beans and music and vowed, ‘here I’ll stay’.” Dr. Hook had many hit singles such as “Sylvia’s Mother”, “The Cover of Rolling Stone”, “A Little Bit More”, “Only Sixteen”, “Walk Right In”, “Sharing the Night Together”, “When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman”, “Better Love Next Time”, “Sexy Eyes”, “Girl Can Get It”, and “Baby Makes Her Bluejeans Talk”.

From 1988 to October 2015, Sawyer toured the nostalgia circuit as “Dr. Hook featuring Ray Sawyer,” under license from bandmate Dennis Locorriere, who tours separately and owns the Dr. Hook trademark. Sawyer retired in 2015 and died after a short illness, aged 81.

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