Two For Tuesday: Three Dog Night

I got my first stereo in 1970, and went on a buying spree to get myself more albums. One of the albums I bought was Captured Live At The Forum by Three Dog Night. I liked the album so much I recommended it to a friend, and it became his favorite album as well. Not many years later, I was at a user conference where the social event was a “Sock Hop,” with music provided by, you guessed it, Three Dog Night. By that time they had dropped off the Top 40 and were striving to find relevance in a world that had moved on. They were one of the best vocal groups of the late Sixties and early Seventies, and have split up and reunited a couple of times. The only original singer is Danny Hutton (Cory Wells died last year, and Chuck Negron left in the early Eighties), and the backup band has lost keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon in the last year. In all, they have earned twelve Gold albums and 21 Gold singles, primarily covers of songs written by songwriters such as Hoyt Axton, Laura Nyro, Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, and Leo Sayer. Eleven of those singles reached the Top Ten, with three reaching #1.

Their first #1 single was “Mama Told Me Not To Come,” a Randy Newman composition that also reached #2 in Canada and #3 in the UK in 1970. It was on the album It Ain’t Easy, and it was one of the first singles I bought.

Their last #1 hit was 1972’s “Black And White,” a 1954 composition by David Arkin and Earl Robinson inspired by the Brown v. Board of Education court decision. It had been done previously by Pete Seeger and Sammy Davis Jr. It was from their album Seven Separate Fools and also reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and in Canada, and #8 in Australia.

The group has their own website and a page on Facebook.

Three Dog Night, your Two for Tuesday, June 7, 2016.

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

15 thoughts on “Two For Tuesday: Three Dog Night”

  1. I LOVED them, because they recorded Hoyt Axton music (as well as a bunch of others, as you pointed out here.) I had the good fortune to see them live and know several..ladies…who uh knew Chuck quite well. Thanks for the smile!

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    1. They hardly wrote any of their own songs, but got songs from other songwriters out in front of people. I had never heard of some of the songwriters when I first heard their music through Three Dog Night, and it encouraged me to seek out music by them (Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson were two that I found through them).

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    1. I was surprised that I hadn’t done them before. They were on the radio all the time in the early Seventies, and generally chose good songs to do that fit their sound (still haven’t figured how they went from “Mama Told Me Not To Come” to “Jeremiah was a bullfrog” in just over a year, but there ya go). Interesting, though, because both songs reached #1.

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  2. My family had a Three Dog Night greatest hits tape when I was a kid. They had some great songs. One song on that tape I liked best is “Shambala.”

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    1. They have several Greatest Hits albums, and which one it is doesn’t matter, they’re all good. They’re a great group. I’m surprised “Shambala” didn’t do better on the charts, it was one of their better songs.

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  3. Great choice of band, John! I loved Three Dog Night from the moment I saw them perform “One” live on German TV in 1969. That’s still my favourite song of theirs. They were also my first rock concert experience, in the fall of 1972. It was one of my first dates with future hubby. Thanks for the memories. 🙂

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  4. We saw them with Toto at our first Mountain Winery concert several years ago. We had forgotten how many good songs they had. The whole place was standing and singing along. It was great. That started our love for the Mountain Winery as a venue to see concerts. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. The period they were popular was the heyday of Top 40 radio, too, and their songs were always on the charts. And it’s just good music. Toto was the same way, but not quite as popular.

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