Dr. Feelgood (band)

Dr. Feelgood (band)

Infobox musical artist |
Name = Dr. Feelgood

Img_capt =
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Background = group_or_band
Alias =
Origin = Canvey Island, Essex
Genre = Pub rock, Blues-rock
Years_active = 1971 - present
Label = United Artists Records Various
Associated_acts = Eddie & the Hot Rods The Kursaal Flyers
Current_members = Robert Kane Steve Walwyn Kevin Morris P H Mitchell
Past_members = Lee Brilleaux (deceased) Wilko Johnson John B Sparks The Big Figure John 'Gypie' Mayo Johnny Guitar Gordon Russell Pete Gage Dave Bronze

Dr. Feelgood are a British pub rock band, which was formed in mid 1971. The name of the band, Dr. Feelgood, is slang for heroin, or for doctors who are prepared to overprescribe drugs. In 1962 the name was adopted by the American blues pianist and singer Willie Perryman (also known as "Piano Red") who recorded his song "Dr Feel-Good" as "Dr Feelgood & The Interns". The song was covered by several British beat groups including Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, who used it as the b-side to one of their singles and it is from there, allegedly, that it was picked up by the band.


Best known for early singles like "Back In The Night" and "Roxette", they hailed from Canvey Island, Essex. Although their most commercially productive years were the early to mid 1970s, they continue to tour and record to this day.

The group's original distinctively British R&B sound was centered on Wilko Johnson's choppy guitar style. Along with Johnson, the original band line-up comprised John B. Sparks (bass guitar), John Martin aka The Big Figure (drummer) and Lee Brilleaux (vocals).

Like many pub rock acts, Dr. Feelgood were known primarily for their high energy live performances, although studio albums like "Down by the Jetty" - 1974 and "Malpractice" - 1975 were also popular. Their breakthrough 1976 live album, "Stupidity", reached number one in the UK Albums Chart (their only chart-topper). But after the follow-up "Sneakin' Suspicion", Johnson left the group due to perceived conflicts with Lee Brilleaux. He was replaced by John 'Gypie' Mayo. With Mayo, the band was never as popular as with Johnson, but still enjoyed their only Top Ten hit single in 1979, with "Milk and Alcohol". Johnson never achieved any great success outside of the band and fans always speculated about a return by Johnson that never occurred.

Despite Mayo's departure in 1981, and various subsequent line-up changes, Dr. Feelgood continued touring and recording, although the band then suffered an almost career-finishing blow, when their frontman, Brilleaux, died of cancer on 7 April 1994. But, as Brilleaux had insisted prior to his demise, Dr. Feelgood reunited initially with vocalist Pete Gage, and then Robert Kane, and recommenced touring in 1996. Every year since Brilleaux's death, a special concert, known as the Lee Brilleaux Birthday Memorial, is held on Canvey Island, where ex and current Feelgoods celebrate the music of Dr. Feelgood, and raise money for Fairhaven's hospice. Fans attend from all over the globe, and the 16th event will be held on 08 May 2009. Dr. Feelgood continue to play across the world, with concerts in 2008 including the UK, Austria, Greece, France, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain.

In April 2007, Robert Kane celebrated his 1000th gig as the frontman of Dr. Feelgood.

Original band personnel

*Lee Brilleaux - born Lee Collinson, 10 May 1952, Durban, South Africa — died 7 April 1994 - Lead Vocalist 1971 to 1994. Brilleaux also played slide guitar (as on the 1975 hit, "Back In The Night") and regularly played harmonica for both albums and gigs.
*Wilko Johnson - born John Wilkinson, 12 July 1947, Canvey Island - Lead Guitarist 1971 to 1977.
*John B Sparks - born 22 February 1953 - Bass Guitarist 1971 to 1982.
*The Big Figure - born John Martin, 8 November 1946 - Drummer 1971 to 1981.

*John 'Gypie' Mayo - Lead Guitarist - 1977 to 1981.
*Johnny Guitar - Lead Guitarist - 1981 to 1982.
*Gordon Russell - Lead Guitarist - 1983 to 1989.
*Steve Walwyn - Lead Guitarist - 1990 to date.
*Kevin Morris - Drummer - 1983 to date.
*P H Mitchell - Bassist - 1984 to 1990 and 1995 to date.
*Dave Bronze - Bassist - 1991 to 1995.
*Pete Gage - Vocalist - 1995 to 1999.
*Robert Kane - Vocalist - 1999 to date.

Album Discography

(Including compilations and retrospectives)


* Guinness Book of British Hit Singles - 16th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-190-X
* Guinness Book of British Hit Albums - 7th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-619-7
* Guinness Rockopedia - ISBN 0-85112-072-5
* The Great Rock Discography - 5th Edition - ISBN 1-84195-017-3
* Jost, Roland; Nättilä, Teppo, Mäkinen, Rauno - From Roxette To Ramona, Dr Feelgood And Wilko Johnson On Record - ISBN 3-033-00460-1
* Down By The Jetty - The Dr Feelgood Story by Tony Moon - Northdown Publishing 1997 (Rev 2002) - ISBN 1-90071-115-X

External links

* [http://www.drfeelgood.de Official website]
* [http://www.drfeelgood.ch Independent website]
* [http://www.drfeelgood.fr French website]
* [http://www.southend-sites.co.uk/feelgood/ Hometown website]
* [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:cx5ibks96akx~T0 Dr. Feelgood biography at the AMG web page]
* [http://www.bluesinlondon.com/feat_wilko.html 2006 interview with Wilko Johnson]
*Dr Feelgood Information Service, PO Box 94, Middlesbrough, Cleveland, TS4 3YX

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