Joy to the World
Three Dog Night set to rock The Mount
Celebrating their fourth decade as a band, Three Dog Night enjoyed tremendous success from 1969 through 1974. During that time span, they landed the most top 10 hits and sold more records and concert tickets than any other act. Songs like “Mama Told Me (Not To Come)”, “Joy to the World”, “Black and White”, “Shambala” and “One” are just a few of the hits that the group will perform when they take the stage at the Mt. Laurel Pocono Mountains Performing Arts Center in Tamiment on June 29.
The name Three Dog Night was lifted from the pages of a magazine article describing ways Australian hunters would keep warm in the outback. They would huddle with their dingoes for warmth after the sun disappeared, with colder nights requiring two dogs and freezing nights being “three dog nights”.
The band features founding members Cory Wells and Danny Hutton on lead vocals, as well as original keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon and guitarist Michael Allsup. Paul Kingery (bass and vocals) and Pat Bautz (drums) complete the lineup.
Three Dog Night had a very unique sound showcasing the vocal strengths of three very different lead singers in Wells, Hutton and Chuck Negron (who is no longer touring with the group).
“There were three-singer bands out at the time like Crosby Stills and Nash and the Bee Gees,” Wells said. “Three Dog Night is unique in the fact that we had three distinguished styles of lead singers and then the fourth singer would emerge when we would all sing together. We had a middle of the road, Beach Boyish singer in Danny. We had Chuck who was the balladeer; the love song guy. And I was the R&B guy. You had these three distinct styles of music.”
In a time period where most bands were scratching and clawing to become the next Beatles, Three Dog Night had a different approach to songwriting and their music that helped them score hits and discover great songwriters and collaborators during the process.
“We were choosing the right songs at that time,” Wells said. “Everybody was trying to emulate the Beatles. They pushed everybody to start writing their own material, whether it was good or bad. We didn’t want to do that. We wanted to pick the best possible material we found. If we wrote it, great! We would record. If we didn’t write it and somebody else wrote something better, we would do that. We found a lot of unknown writers at the time.”
Some of those unknown writers that contributed songs to the Three Dog Night legacy were Elton John, Randy Newman and Harry Nielson.
After 40 years on the road, Wells looks ahead at his extensive tour schedule, but also takes the time to look back at the band’s success. “We were all bulletproof at that age,” Wells stated. “ We were very successful and on a tremendous run for a long time. It seems that we couldn’t do any wrong.”
— tom graham
Three Dog Night will perform at the Mt. Laurel Pocono Mountains Performing Arts Center in Tamiment on June 29. Opening act Flyin Blind kicks off the show at 7 p.m. Music on the festival stage starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $37.50-$67.50 and can be purchased by calling 588-2522 and 588-2520 or by visiting www.mountlaurelpac.com.