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A becoming humility

Quora provides a sterling example of one of Man’s finer qualities.

Rik Elswit
Musician for 60 years. Professional musician for 55

What are some rock songs that were just filler, but became huge hits?
My band went into the studio to make our fourth album after having had to declare bankruptcy in order to get out of a contract with CBS records where we were getting no support. Nobody would even take our phone calls.

So we signed with Capitol, and went to work at Pacific Recorders. This is where we found out that our manager/producer was of little use in the studio without having the CBS engineers holding his hand for him. We released three singles off it that he was sure would be hits, and they all stiffed. Finally, in frustration, the brass at Capitol actually ordered him to release our cover of Sam Cooke’s “Only 16”, which we’d recorded simply as fill to flesh out the album.

This was a tune that we had begun playing at gigs just because we liked to play it. Our lead singer really got it, and it was just like home. The sort of thing we could do in our sleep. We produced and arranged it ourselves, and it only took a couple hours, total, to get it in the can. We were even breaking up a pound of monstrously good smoke in the drum booth while we were doing the sweetening. I had to hand the scales off to the drummer when they called me out to lay in the guitar solo and fills.

It went gold. We had worked our own way out of bankruptcy on our own, and we made Sam Cooke’s widow very happy.

FOURTH album? Jumping from a contract with CBS over to Capitol, seemingly at will? A gold record the result of said major-label leap? One can only assume that this Rik Elswit fellow must be, or at least once was, a real Somebody in the music biz.

As it turns out, we quickly learn from the comments that one would not be entirely incorrect in one’s assumption.

Neil Matthews
I’d like to give Rik’s answers more upvotes, it’s a glimpse of what Quora could be; informative answers to genuine questions by someone who knows what they are talking about.

Huw Pritchard
No small amount of humility either – I’ll be honest, I ended up googling Rik because I didn’t know his name but figured out it might be an interesting search.

If I was in his shoes I’d start everything I wrote with “I was in Dr Hook for 13 years”, even if it wasn’t relevant to the answer.

Well, I will be dipped in shit, how ’bout that? For those of you out there who are a hell of a lot younger than me, here’s Rik Elswit’s band’s biggest hit—in days of old, when knights were bold, and condoms not invented.

And what the hell, since Rik mentioned pounds of weed, and it popped up after Dr Hook in my YewToob list, PLUS it’s still one of the songs that make me bounce around in my seat the hardest, let’s do this thing.

Man, you might not agree, but in my book that’s about as good as the rock GETS, right there.

Update! Okay, since I’m on something of a roll here and all. Rik mentioned major-label tapeworms refusing to even take the band’s calls back in their darkest days just before the dawn, so what do you suppose that reminded me of? Why, this, of course.

Just occurred to me that, if someone stumbled in here who didn’t know me personally and got a load of these, shall we say, wildly electic musical selections I’m always putting up here, then found out I mostly listened to classical music radio all day long, they’d probably think I was schizophrenic or something.

Says it all update! While we’re on the topic of rock and roll, I hijacked this from shit the great Ken Lane posted on Fakebook.

AC DC3BlocksAway

Really, what more can one say but: Heh.

3 thoughts on “A becoming humility

  1. I don’t always listen to AC/DC. But when I do, so does the rest of the zip code.

  2. I always just thought he was “Dr.” Hook. Perhaps really John Hook or Tom Hook or even Rick Hook.

    Who knew he had a completely different name?

    Say, did you also know that there’s no Pink or Floyd in Pink Floyd? 😁

  3. I’m also sure most people do not know that they were more than just a band called Dr. Hook, and that it was in fact, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show.

    The “medicine” being dispensed by the Beatles ‘Dr. Robert’.

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