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, apart from a brief spell with Ian Dury and The Blockheads from 1980, 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.
As Brilleaux had insisted prior to his demise, Dr. Feelgood reunited in May 1995, initially with vocalist Pete Gage, (not to be confused with guitarist Pete Gage of Geno Washington and Vinegar Joe) and recommenced touring in 1996. in 1999 Gage was replaced by Robert Kane, formerly of The Animals II and The Alligators, who celebrated his 1000th gig as the frontman of Dr. Feelgood in April 2007.