Losing Some Other Stars

Not every great musician is famous. Not every musician WC likes is a rock star. As we start the New Year, let’s remember the musicians who entertained us, even if they aren’t as famous as they might have deserved.

Ray Sawyer in 1977

Ray Sawyer was for many years the lead vocalist in Dr. Hook (nee Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show). That’s him on “Cover of Rolling Stone,” “Sylvia’s Mother” and “When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman.” His eye patch – the consequence of a pre-Dr. Hook auto accident – was the inspiration for the band’s name. He had a voice that could not be taken seriously, and it worked perfectly for Dr. Hook’s schtick. And, yes, Sawyer and the rest of Dr. Hook did make the cover of Rolling Stone. He died last week at the age of 81. Which is absolutely amazing. Shel Silverstein wrote most of their songs. When Shel found out they had written one of their own, he thought it was charming. When he found out they’d written several, he called it “alarming.” Did you know Bruce Springsteen opened for Dr. Hook in 1973. Sometimes karma just bites you on the ass.

Daryl Dragon and Tini Tennille

Daryl Dragon was The Captain in the The Captain and Tennille, who was Toni Tennille, the lead vocalist. Dragon had worked for some years as the keyboardist in the Beach Boys. They married, if Tennille is to be believed, because their promoter announced they had married on Valentine’s Day. Dragon produced all 10 of the duo’s 10 albums. Eight of those ten albums were certified gold or platinum. They continued to perform after their hit-making run ended in 1979 — “Do That to Me One More Time” was their last gold record — and Dragon produced other artists. Ms. Tennille, meanwhile, increasingly pursued solo projects. They had an incredibly bad television variety show and, when Neil Sedaka stopped writing songs for them, their career ended. But when it came to Sedaka’s musical hooks, they were better at them than Neil himself. Dragon was 76 years old. During WC’s brief career as a radio station deejay, The Captain and Tennille’s “Muskrat Love” was a top requested song. Sometimes karma just bites you on the ass.

Pegi Young (John Davisson/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

Pegi Young was Neil Young’s ex-wife. You know Neil’s song, “Unknown Legend”?

She used to work in a diner
Never saw a woman look finer
I used to order just to watch her float across the floor

That was Neil Young writing about Pegi Young. On the “Harvest Moon” tour, she sang background vocals, which was pretty magical if you knew the story. Sang well, too. Pegi co-founded The Bridge School in 1986. It’s a very highly regarded institution that helps kids like Neil and Pegi’s son, Ben, that have severe speech and physical impairments. The annual Bridge School Benefit in Mountain View, California continually attracts A-level talent – Springsteen, The Who, and David Bowie, among many great acts – that has helped raise money for the school. Pegi and Neil divorced in 2014. She died of cancer last week, 66 years old. Pegi’s last solo album, “Raw,” is a gut-wrenching songbook by a woman being divorced by a man she loved. Sometimes life just bites you in the ass.

There are lots more, but let these three stand for all the others.


3 thoughts on “Losing Some Other Stars

  1. Pegi Young – “Somewhere on a desert highway, she rides a Harley-Davidson, her long blonde hair flying in the wind…”

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