Three Dog Night

  • Rock band formed in 1967 from Los Angeles California. Center of the band were the vocalists Chuck Negron, Danny Hutton and Cory Wells (birth name Emil Lewandowski). Musicians in the band were Michael Allsup (guitar), Floyd Sneed (drums), Joe Schermie (bass guitar) and Jimmy Greenspoon (keyboards).
  • Wells was in California working in a band named The Enemys. The band worked in clubs around LA, Las Vegas and San Jose, and they became the house band at the Whisky a Go Go club. Cher heard them, and asked them to tour with her and Sonny Bono. On the tour, Wells met Hutton. Wells convinced Hutton that they could form their own group with 3 singers and a back-up band. They found Negron at a party in Hollywood, who agreed to join. The 3 singers named themselves Redwood, and they recorded demos with the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson as producer.
  • After perfecting their three part harmony, they hired musicians to round out the band. They decided to name the group Three Dog Night – Hutton’s girlfriend suggested the name after reading a magazine about aboriginal Australians who would sleep with their dogs to stay warm at night – on nights that were freezing, it was a “three dog night.”
  • They were signed by a record label, and their first album, the self titled Three Dog Night, was released in 1968. The band was unique in that they had 3 lead vocalists, all with excellent rock voices. The album was a success – it is the only Three Dog Night album to sell over 1 million records. The hit single was One, which reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart. Check out Negron’s vocals on this song – elite.
  • One was the first of 21 consecutive singles by the band that charted in the Top 40 between 1969 and 1975. Three singles topped the chart, and 7 singles sold over 1 million copies. Their first #1 was Mama Told Me Not To Come, from their third album, 1970’s It Ain’t Easy. Their second was Joy To the World, which was their biggest selling song (5 million copies), and was the best selling single in 1971. The last #1 hit was Black and White in 1972, from their sixth studio album, Seven Separate Fools. 
  • Other top 5 singles were Easy To Be Hard, An Old Fashioned Love Song, Never Been To Spain, Shambala, and The Show Must Go On. I know all of these songs well, and love to sing them today – the vocals are so strong. My favorites are Eli’s Coming, with Cory Wells on an amazing lead vocal; One Man Band, with Hutton and Negron both singing lead on different verses; and Celebrate, with all three handling one verse a piece.
  • In 1976, the band split up, after 10 studio albums and 2 live albums. Of course, as rock bands tend to do, they reunited in 1981. They released a final studio album in 1983, and since then have continued to be active as a touring band on the nostalgia circuit. Hutton and Allsup are the only original members still with the band. Wells and Greenspoon both performed with the band until their deaths in 2015. Negron only made it until 1985 – he was permanently kicked out of the band due to his drug addiction, which he finally overcame in 1991.
  • Love this band. They won’t be Rock & Roll Hall of Famers (they didn’t write their own songs – apparently a black mark on their resume). But boy….could they sing like rock stars! Plus, my first date with my wife to be was at a Three Dog Night concert in 1983! Ain’t that cute? Here’s one of their classics – Mama Told Me Not To Come, with Cory Wells on lead vocal. The song was written by Randy Newman.

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