131hook32973Dr Hook and the Medicine Show turned into a middle-of-the-road band of the worst kind later in the 1970s, but initially they had some bite. This track has been included for a number of reasons. First, it’s written by Shel Silverstein, an inventive poet and musician involved in a number of interesting projects over the years (for instance the genuinely funny children’s songs on Underwater Land, sung by Pat Dailey and released posthumously in 2002). Second, it has a good story behind it. The lyrics lament that the group hasn’t yet achieved the ultimate accolade, despite its apparent rock star status: “We got all the friends that money can buy, so we’ll never have to be alone – and we keep getting richer but we can’t get our picture on the cover of The Rolling Stone”.

Once it was a hit, Rolling Stone Magazine duly obliged in the March 29th, 1973 issue. However, there were caveats – the magazine used cartoon caricatures rather than a photo and didn’t actually name the group, using the tag-line “What’s Their Names Make the Cover” instead. But there’s more. In the UK, the BBC banned the record because it classified the mention of Rolling Stone as advertising. So a few modified copies with very rough overdubbing were pressed especially for BBC DJs, renamed “The Cover of The Radio Times” – a title the very opposite of Rolling Stone in terms of general hipness. The BBC still wouldn’t play it, as it wasn’t allowed to advertise BBC publications either. This version is now an extreme rarity, but one previous owner was Kenny Everett, who used to play it on his Capital Radio show to annoy his old adversary, the BBC.

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