THREE DOG NIGHT 1969 to 1974, The Top American Rock Band
Three Dog Night was considered by many to be the top rock and roll band from 1969 to 1974. They had 21 hit songs and were among the first American bands to enter the era of stadium rock. "Joy to the World" is their most recognized song, which starts with the line, "Jeremiah was a bullfrog!" Although, Three Dog Night was much more than the song about a frog.
Three Dog Night Hit Songs
Try a Little Tenderness
One ("One is the loneliest number")
Easy to Be Hard
Mama Told Me Not to Come
One Man Band
Joy to the World
Old Fashioned Love Song
Never Been to Spain
Family of Man
Black and White
Pieces of April
Let Me Serenade You
The Show Must Go On
Sure As I'm Sitting Here
Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)
I'd Be So Happy
The seven member band was a rich collaboration of of musical styles
from rock and roll, rhythm and blues, gospel, soul, Latin, and pop.
They sought out the best songwriters' work and arranged these into
their own style of songs which were unique, outstanding, and timeless.
Three Dog Night's early 70s music has themes of peace and love,
heartbreak, social responsibility, enjoying life, the ideal world, the
rock and roll lifestyle, and ironically, lessons to be learned from the
rock and roll lifestyle.Already a successful rock and roll recording artist, Danny Hutton had the idea to form a vocal group with three strong lead singers. They would sing harmony and take turns on lead solos. The Los Angeles band evolved as the seven found each other. Danny had toured as a backup singer with Cory Wells, who had a house band in a Los Angeles club. Cory had roots in gospel music. Danny was friends with Chuck Negron, who had sung doo-wop, rhythm and blues, and ballads. Chuck had recorded for Columbia and had performed with several vocal groups.
Danny knew the young and very talented Jimmy Greenspoon from his work as a studio musician, playing piano and organ. Cory had been in a band with Joe Schermie, a guitar bassist with experience in blues, jazz, Latin, and rock; he had an amazing sense of rhythm. Unfortunately, Joe Schermie died of a heart attack in 2002. Joe discovered Floyd Sneed, who had a unique style, mixing Latin and African percussion, calling it "Lafrican." Cory and Joe were looking for Michael Allsup, also young and accomplished as a lead guitarist; coincidently, Michael was moving into the city at the same time. The ages of all founding members ranged from 20 to 24. Only one year later, Three Dog Night had five hits, three gold records, a head-lining concert tour, and was called "the greatest group in the nation" by Record World magazine.
To describe the sound of Three Dog Night, all the lead vocals together were big and powerful, as though more than three guys were singing. The music had a wide variety; audiences didn't know what the band would do next. The sound was upbeat and rocking, mixed with an occasional soft ballad. Three Dog Night was considered to be more "cool" than some groups. Teens were allowed to listen to Three Dog Night, while parents were more wary of recordings by other rock bands. Many people then and now describe Three Dog Night songs as music that makes you feel good.
by Barbara B. Eddins, all photos provided by Steve D. Sodikoff with permission