Dr. Feelgood are a British pub rock band formed in 1971. The band's name derives from a slang term for heroin or for a doctor who is willing to overprescribe drugs. It is also a reference to a 1962 record by the American blues pianist and singer Willie Perryman (also known as "Piano Red") called "Dr Feel-Good", which Perryman recorded under the name of Dr Feelgood & The Interns. The song was covered by several British beat groups in the 1960s, including Johnny Kidd & The Pirates.
Hailing from Canvey Island, Essex, they are best known for early singles like "Back in the Night" and "Roxette". 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 centred on Wilko Johnson's choppy guitar style. Along with Johnson, the original band line-up included singer Lee Brilleaux and the rhythm section of John B. Sparks, known as "Sparko" on bass guitar and John Martin, known as "The Big Figure", on drums.
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.
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