Sylvia’s Mother has still got us all hooked

ex dr hook singer dennis locorriere
ex dr hook singer dennis locorriere

Singing about the best known telephone call in the pop world for more than 30 years really ought to have given Dennis Locorriere a hang-up about nostlagia...

But the former front-man from Doctor Hook isn’t ready to put the phone down on Sylvia’s Mother just yet.

Dennis has had a long and varied career in entertainment, through acting as well in music, and Dr Hook is only a small part of his story.

But wherever he goes – and he’s coming to Buxton Opera House on May 26 – the iconic song in which he is the plaintive voice of the teenager in love, desperately seeking Sylvia, is always in demand.

“People expect me to relive the same hour and a half of my life everyday,” joked Dennis, whose show Dennis Locorriere Alone Again 2011 promises plenty of new and exciting songs as well as the classics.

“Some of them expect that I’ll be standing there with bell-bottoms and the same haircut singing the same ten songs. Their lives have moved on, and so has mine.

“I get the nostalgia – but the truth is that life is really cool right now. I don’t want to be a nostalgia act, but a musician with a history.”

And that’s certainly what he is. As well as Dr Hook, he has been a special guest singer with Rolling Stone Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, featured on Mojo magazine’s Beatles Let it Be album, appeared in a major movie with Dustin Hoffman and starred in the acclaimed one-man show “The Devil and Billy Markham” by Shel Silverstein.

Which brings him back to Sylvia’s Mother – written by the same Mr Silverstein.

“I was a big fan of Shel’s before Dr Hook,” said Dennis of the writer who is famous in America for children’s stories, many of them read as audio books by the singer.

It was Shel’s storyline on Sylvia’s Mother, with its tension of the will-she-won’t-she come to the phone drama as much as the haunting tune, which made it such a classic, and Dennis has mirrored this in his own work.

“Everyone feels the same thing, but some of us – and I’m lucky – can express it,” he said. “That’s what Shel was so good at. We’d understand it and we’d feel more worldly for understanding it.”

So, yes – Dennis will be singing some of the great Dr Hook songs – but there’s more to the man who has been awarded more than 60 gold, platinum and silver albums.

Just ask some of the people who have asked him to sing with them: Paul Weller, Jery Lee Lewis, Crystal Gayle, Steve Winwood, Pete Townshed, Yusuf Islam... oh, and one Mr Bob Dylan.

Or even better, go and see for yourself.

• Alone Again with Dennis Locorriere, May 26, 7.30pm, Buxton Opera House. Tickets: £18, £20. Box office: 0845 127 2190.