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Profile: Three Dog Night

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Three Dog Night

Three Dog Night

source: pricegrabber.com

Formed:

1968 (Los Angeles, CA)

Genres:

Rock, Rock and Roll, Pop, Pop-Rock

Principal Members:

Chuck Negron (b. June 8, 1942, The Bronx, New York, NY): vocals
Danny Hutton (b. September 10, 1942, Buncrana, Donegal, Ireland): vocals
Cory Wells (b. Emil Lowendowski, February 5, 1942, Buffalo, NY): vocals
Michael Allsup (b. March 8, 1947, Modesto, CA): guitar
Jimmy Greenspoon (b. February 7, 1948, Los Angeles, CA): piano, organ
Joe Schermie (b. Joseph Edward Schermetzler, February 12, 1946, Madison, WI; d. March 25, 2002, Los Angeles, CA): bass
Floyd Sneed (b. November 22, 1943, Calgary, Alberta, Canada): drums

Contributions to music:

  • America's most popular pop group from 1969-1974, they scored one top 40 single every three months for almost six years straight
  • The first point of exposure for several of the world's most noted songwriters, including Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Harry Nilsson, John Hiatt, Laura Nyro, Hoyt Axton, and more
  • Some of the era's most effective song interpreters and arrangers
  • The first band to headline a complete tour of stadiums
  • Lead trio of vocalists Chuck Negron, Danny Hutton, and Cory Wells are recognized as among the era's greatest

Early years:

The story of Three Dog Night begins with its three lead vocalists, all fixtures on the late-Sixties L.A. scene: Chuck Negron, an unsuccessful solo artist recording on Columbia, Danny Hutton, a semi-successful solo artist for MGM and Hanna-Barbera, and Cory Wells, a mainstay at the Whisky a Go-Go who had signed on to tour with Sonny and Cher. Hutton's idea of a pop group with three equal leads (pre-Crosby Stills and Nash) led to a band named Redwood; the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson was taken with them enough to sign on as their producer. When the Boys refused to let Wilson do outside work, however, the group was stranded.

Success:

Starting over, the trio recuited their own backup band and secured a contract with Dunhill Records after execs caught their show at the Troubadour; by then, they'd acquired a new name through Hatton's girlfriend, who'd read an article about Australian aborgines. (On cold nights, they cuddled up with dingoes, so a very cold evening was dubbed a "three dog night.") Their first national single, a cover of Otis' "Try A Little Tenderness," did well, but only after focusing on new songs by unknown songwriters did the group hit upon its hitmaking formula, resulting in their first smash, "One," courtesy of Harry Nilsson.

Later years:

That approach led to a phenomenal chart run, but that also meant nonstop touring and promotion, and along the way, several members developed very nasty drug addictions. By 1975, tastes were moving towards the dance floor, and the band was burnt out: Three Dog Night folded in 1976, although they went on to stage reunion concerts beginning in the early Eighties. As of this writing, the original group, minus Negron, Sneed and the deceased Schermie, is touring; Negron, whose bid to rejoin was snubbed by at least one old bandmate, has begun touring on his own.

Other facts:

  • Other members have included: Jack Ryland, bass (1973-1976); Skip Konte, keyboards (1973-1976)
  • Hutton auditioned to be a member of the Monkees but was rejected
  • As Redwood, recorded early versions of the Beach Boys' "Time to Get Alone" and "Darlin'"
  • Negron, a former member of NYC's doo-wop group the Rondells, also played basketball for Cal State
  • Negron pressured Dunhill into releasing "One" as a single
  • Hutton eventually went on to manage several punk bands, including Fear
  • Wells, an expert fisherman, became an editor for Outdoor Life
  • Negron has become notorious for his claim that his member split during sex with a groupie

Awards/Honors:

  • Vocal Group Hall of Fame (2000)

Recorded work:

#1 hits:
Pop:
  • "Mama Told Me (Not To Come)" (1970)
  • "Joy To The World" (1971)
  • "Black And White" (1972)
Top 10 hits:
Pop:
  • "One" (1969)
  • "Easy To Be Hard" (1969)
  • "Eli's Coming" (1969)
  • "Liar" (1970)
  • "Never Been To Spain" (1971)
  • "An Old Fashioned Love Song" (1971)
  • "Shambala" (1973)
  • "The Show Must Go On" (1974)
Top 10 albums:
Pop:
  • Captured Live At The Forum (1969)
  • It Ain't Easy (1970)
  • Golden Bisquits (1971)
  • Harmony (1971)
Other notable recordings: "Nobody," "It's For You," "Try A Little Tenderness," "Heaven Is In Your Mind," "Celebrate," "Lady Samantha," "Cowboy," "Out In The Country," "Your Song," "Good Feeling," "One Man Band," "I Can Hear You Calling," "My Impersonal Life," "The Family Of Man," "Going In Circles," "You," "Night In The City," "Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer," "In Bed," "Midnight Runaway," "Pieces Of April," "Our 'B' Side," "Let Me Serenade You," "Sure As I'm Sittin' Here," "I'd Be So Happy," "Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)," "'Til the World Ends"
Covered by: Waylon Jennings, The Wolfgang Press, Rockapella, Aimee Mann
Appears in the movies: Floyd Sneed: "Far Out Man" (1990) , Danny Hutton: "Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?)" (2006)
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