The Cover of Rolling Stone

"The Cover of 'Rolling Stone'"
Single by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show
from the album Sloppy Seconds
B-side "Queen of the Silver Dollar"
Released November 1972
Format 7"
Genre Pop rock, soft rock,[1] comedy
Length 2:53
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Shel Silverstein
Producer(s) Ron Haffkine
Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show singles chronology
"Carry Me, Carrie"
"The Cover of 'Rolling Stone'"
"Roland the Roadie and Gertrude the Groupie"

"The Cover of 'Rolling Stone'" is a song written by Shel Silverstein and first recorded by American rock group Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show. Produced by Ron Haffkine and released in 1972, it was the band's third single and peaked at number six on the U.S. pop chart for two weeks on March 17–24, 1973.

Song information

From left to right: Dennis Locorriere, Billy Francis, and Ray Sawyer of Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show on the cover of Rolling Stone in caricature.

The song satirizes success in the music business; the song's narrator laments that his band, despite having the superficial attributes of a successful rock star (including drug usage, "teenage groupies, who'll do anything we say" and a frenetic guitar solo) has been unable to "get their pictures/on the cover of the Rolling Stone".

As the song was riding high on the charts, the magazine acquiesced to Dr. Hook's request -- sort of. The March 29, 1973 cover of Rolling Stone did feature the band, but in caricature, rather than in a photograph. Also, the group's name was not used; instead the caption read simply, "What's-Their-Names Make the Cover."

BBC Radio refused to play the song, as it contained the name of a commercial publication (Rolling Stone) and could therefore be considered advertising. The song was re-recorded by producer Ron Haffkine and rush released in the UK as "The Cover of the Radio Times" (Radio Times being the name given to the weekly television and radio guide published by the BBC), which did find its way onto playlists.

Cover versions

The song has been covered by various artists. R. Stevie Moore on his 1987 album Teenage Spectacular. Rock band Poison also covered the song on their 2000 album Crack a Smile... and More!. Sammy Kershaw covered the song on his 2010 album Better Than I Used to Be, with his version featuring Jamey Johnson. Black Francis covered the song on the album Twistable, Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to the Songs of Shel Silverstein in 2010. Jackyl covered the song on their 2012 studio album Best in Show.

Additionally, Buck Owens and the Buckaroos parodied the song as "On the Cover of the Music City News" on the 1974 album It's A Monster's Holiday and the 1976 album Best of Buck Owens, Volume 6.

German comedian Mike Krüger covered and translated the song with small lyrical changes for his 1978 album Stau mal wieder, changing the title to "Auf der Hülle mit den Rolling Stones" (On the Cover with the Rolling Stones), lyrics implying he would like to have his photograph as an album cover for the Rolling Stones.

Phish played the song live in concert on February 14, 2003 after learning they would appear on the cover of the March 6, 2003 issue of the magazine.

Further utilization

The song was featured in the 2000 film Almost Famous.

See also


  1. Pop/Rock » Soft Rock » Soft Rock. "Soft Rock | Significant Albums, Artists and Songs". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-03-24.
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