TNB Night Owl – The Joy Of Three Dog Night

Three Dog Night, performing live. Image captured by the News Blender.

In an era when most bands were lucky if they had one decent frontman, what do you suppose happened when a rock band formed with three lead singers, any one of which would have been a stellar lead vocalist by themselves? What you get is Three Dog Night, a band that by some accounts was more popular than The Beatles, circa 1969-1974. In those six years, Three Dog Night had twenty singles that charted in the Top 40, including three number one hits. Interestingly, they were not songwriters, but they were great at performing well-written tunes.

Most of the music TDN is best know for is categorized as pop rock or soft rock. The majority of their tunes are optimistic, with a positive vibe. All of it is “feel good” music. Even tracks with a less-than-sunny outlook, such as “One” (about loneliness), “Easy to Be Hard” (when friends let you down), “Liar” (self-explanatory), and “Pieces of April” (a romance that ended regrettably) are so chipper and catchy you can’t help but sing along and feel good about it. Their music soared with a spirit of joy, exuberance, and celebration. For example, “Eli’s Coming” always reminds me of an high-energy Broadway musical, or a rock opera such as “Hair”.

Oddly, TDN doesn’t get the airplay and recognition that other bands of the time do today. Maybe it’s because they were never considered psychedelic rock, or heavy metal, or even hard rock. Could be they don’t fit the programming formula for classic rock radio, which plays the same tracks over and over again, ad nauseum.

TDN is still touring today (after a breakup between 1976 and 1981), although Danny Hutton and Michael Allsup are the only remaining original band members. During TDN’s most productive years the ‘classic’ lineup formed around vocalists Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron, and Cory Wells. Michael Allsup (guitar), Jimmy Greenspoon (keyboards), Joe Schermie (bass), and Floyd Sneed (drums) rounded out the band.

Three Dog Night’s twenty biggest singles:

1969 – One

1969 – Easy to Be Hard

1969 – Eli’s Coming

1969 – Try a Little Tenderness

1970 – Celebrate

1970 – Mama Told Me Not to Come

1970 – Out in the Country

1970 – One Man Band

1971 – Joy to the World

1971 – Liar

1971 – An Old Fashioned Love Song

1971 – Never Been to Spain

1972 – The Family of Man

1972 – Black and White

1972 – Pieces of April

1973 – Shambala

1973 – Let Me Serenade You

1974 – The Show Must Go On

1974 – Sure As I’m Sittin’ Here

1974 – Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)

Question Of The Night: Describe something unforgettable you saw happen as you drove down an interstate highway (or any road, for that matter).

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About Richard Doud 622 Articles
Learning is a life-long endeavor. Never stop learning. No one is right all the time. No one is wrong all the time. No exceptions to these rules.