Ray Sawyer, American singer with the 1970s rock band Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show, has died at the age of 81.
The news was announced by the band’s official Facebook page, a short statement read: “Ray Sawyer, an original member of Dr Hook from 1969-1981, passed away this morning. We send our condolences to his family at this difficult time.”
Having received acclaim with the band in the 70s, from 1988 to October 2015, Sawyer continued to tour as the nostalgia circuit as ‘Dr. Hook featuring Ray Sawyer’ before retiring.
Sawyer, who acted as the band’s percussionist and backing singer to frontman Dennis Locorriere, became instantly recognisable due to his ever-present eyepatch after he lost his right eye in a 1967 car crash. At the time of the accident, he said: “I must have played all the clubs from Houston to Charleston until I decided I was going insane from too much beans and music, and I gave it up.”
He continued: “I saw a John Wayne movie and proceeded to Portland, Oregon, to be a logger complete with plaid shirt, caulk boots, and pike pole.
“On the way my car slipped on the road and the accident left me with the eye patch I now wear. When I recovered I ran straight back to the beans and music and vowed, ‘here I’ll stay’.”