Oct 08

DR HOOK – “When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman”

FT + Popular38 comments • 5,353 views

#446, 17th November 1979

The song may be a standard of sorts, but Dr Hook were one of the acts I came to Popular with very little idea about – kind of bluesy? Rootsy? Definitely rockers – the name summoned vague associations of bike grease and whisky… but then I remembered. I was getting them confused with Dr Feelgood. Of course! How silly of me – I should have known that the smoothies behind “…Beautiful Woman” weren’t some kind of gnarly bar band outfit!

And then I saw the video. Oh well.

This song suffers on two counts. Firstly it sounds more than a little out of date by now – this is hardly the first time we’ve encountered these bumping “Rock Your Baby” style rhythms, so diminishing returns have set in. Dr Hook play them well, though, and keep the groove gentle enough that this at least doesn’t feel to me like a crass rush for disco, more a thoughtful accomodation with it. Unfortunately, the tasteful music actually magnifies the other issue with the song – it’s a little too slick, its trot through the perils of being in love with a byoo-tiful woo-man just a bit too oily for post-Seventies tastes. If you’re in a generous mood – and the band’s enthusiasm in the video clip might tip you into one – this makes the record more enjoyable, but it’s still a song I’m more likely to giggle at than really dig.



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  1. 26
    DJ Punctum on 8 Oct 2008 #

    Not my mum and dad, pal.

  2. 27
    henry s on 8 Oct 2008 #

    I never knew that they had a singer other than the eyepatch guy!

  3. 28
    henry s on 8 Oct 2008 #

    and I’ve just sorted out this year’s Halloween costume!

  4. 29
    H. on 9 Oct 2008 #

    Fun fact: their early seventies hit “Cover Of The Rolling Stone” was released in the UK as “Cover Of The Radio Times”. True!

  5. 30
    Mark G on 9 Oct 2008 #

    Not true:

    After the BBC banned it, some CBS bods recorded themselves singing over the track, the line “on the cover of the radio times”, pressed a few promos and sent them to the BBC.

    The actual normal single is the same version as the USA version.

  6. 31
    Erithian on 9 Oct 2008 #

    There was also a Radio 1 spoof (Noel Edmonds might have been behind it) where the question in every line of “If Not You” was answered with a DJ’s jingle, viz: “Who’s gonna iron my shirts?” – “Dave Lee Travis!” – “Who’s gonna kiss where it hurts?” -“David Hamilton!” etc etc.

    Magic Fly #20 – no, Ray Sawyer did actually lose an eye in a car crash in 1967. A friend of mine was helpless with laughter when he saw kids dancing to WYILWABW at a school disco by holding a hand over one eye and shaking imaginary maracas with the free hand.

    Another favourite Hook quote I’ve remembered:
    Q: “Why did you call your latest album “Bankrupt”?”
    A: “Why did they call it “World War Two”? We didn’t have a dime.”

  7. 32
    Chris Brown on 9 Oct 2008 #

    @14: Lena’s record company apparently claimed that the apparent drop down the charts discouraged shops from re-ordering stock of her single, and thus handed an advantage to Dr Hook. How much of this is true I don’t know how to judge.

    I still think this is bobbins though. I don’t particularly like his vocal anyway, and everything about this seems to go wrong – boring tune, all the good bits of which are copied from ‘Rock Your Baby’, awful lyric, smugness and a really flaccid production.

  8. 33
    DJ Punctum on 10 Oct 2008 #

    From what I recall the real reason for the drop down the charts was Pye’s crap stock control and hence insufficient copies of the single in the shops over the crucial weekend.

  9. 34
    Robbie on 13 Oct 2008 #

    @11: FT’s Conrad

    The 1992 edition of the Guinness Top 40 Charts book does mistakenly list Dr Hook as the number one for November 10, 1979 with Lena Martell dropping to number two. The chart used for that week in the Top 40 Charts book is the erroneous chart that appeared in Music Week, issue dated 10 November 1979, rather than the corrected chart. I believe the 1996 edition of Top 40 Charts also contains the same erroneous chart.

    Unlike the 1976 chart mix-up which was corrected within a few hours, the Dr Hook / Lena Martell mix-up took 24 hours to correct which meant Music Week went to print with an incorrect chart. In those days the chart pull out in Music Week was displayed in many record stores. This led to Martell’s record company claiming that the mistake effectively reduced demand both from retailers for re-orders and customers for purchases of for her single and cost her the number one the following week.

    Incidentally, the chart error was caused by some of Martell’s sales being added to Dr Hook’s sales and it was the fact that her label thought it suspicious that chart figures showed Dr Hook had outsold Lena Martell by such a large margin (by 150% if I remember correctly the reports at the time) that led to the chart compilers rerunning a sales count of those two records.

  10. 35
    Paytes on 2 Jul 2010 #

    Anyone know who produced The Hook’s light-as-a-feather disco singles (WYILWABW, Sexy Eyes, Better Love Next Time)?

    … BTW, this is my third post (I think) and I think that I may have flouted FT etiquette by not announcing myself as a first timer on my first(My Camera Never Lies). Hello!

  11. 36
    TomLane on 3 Jul 2010 #

    The Producer’s name was Ron Haffkine. He was also their co-manager. He produced some other things as well. But it appears his biggest work was with them.

  12. 37
    Paytes on 4 Jul 2010 #

    Thank you muchly!

  13. 38
    Patrick Mexico on 5 Apr 2013 #

    “Dr. Hook? He’s a poof*!”

    * Before anyone thinks I’m one of Michelle Bachman’s campaign team, this was a quote from that guy’s dad in that great, long-forgotten Channel 4 thingy** Young Person’s Guide to Becoming a Rock Star. I’m laughing at him, not with him. Plus, he liked deep-fried black pudding. It’s like admitting to liking that I See The Moon thing from them Stargazy Pie rogues or sumfink innit badman..

    ** the most 1990s word ever?

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