- Three Dog Night
- Years active
- Former members
An official commentary included in the CD set Celebrate: The Three Dog Night Story, 1965-1975 states that vocalist Danny Hutton’s then-girlfriend June Fairchild thought of the name when she read a magazine article about Indigenous Australians, in which it was explained that on cold nights they would customarily sleep in a hole in the ground while embracing a dingo, a native species of wild dog. On cold nights they would sleep with two dogs, and if a night was especially cold, it was a “Three Dog Night.? Read Full Bio >>
The band started with three lead vocalists — Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron, and Cory Wells — who landed a recording contract with Dunhill Records in Los Angeles. They made some early recordings with Beach Boys producer, composer, vocalist, and instrumentalist Brian Wilson, and initially went by the name Redwood. Shortly after changing the band's name, the vocalists hired a group of backing musicians — Michael Allsup on guitar, Floyd Sneed on drums, Joe Schermie (from the Cory Wells Blues Band) on bass, and Jimmy Greenspoon on keyboards — and soon became one of the most successful bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Three Dog Night earned 14 gold albums and recorded 21 Billboard Top 40 hits, 9 of which went gold. Their first gold record was "One" in 1969, followed by "Easy To Be Hard," from the musical Hair. They had three U.S. number one songs: "Mama Told Me Not to Come" (which was also their only Top 10 hit in the UK), "Joy to the World", and "Black and White". Dunhill Records claimed 40 million units sold by them.
Their use of songs by Randy Newman ("Mama Told Me Not to Come"), Laura Nyro ("Eli's Coming"), Hoyt Axton ("Joy to the World"), Elton John & Bernie Taupin ("Lady Samantha" & "Your Song"), John Hiatt ("Sure As I'm Sittin' Here"), and Leo Sayer ("The Show Must Go On") were the first major hits for songs by these singer/songwriters. According to the commentary in the above-mentioned CD set, Elton John later credited their cover of "Your Song" with being a major factor in catapulting him to stardom. They also popularized a song by Harry Nilsson ("One").
Joe Schermie quit in 1973 and was replaced by Jack Ryland. The band then became an eight-piece with the induction of another keyboard player, Skip Konte. By now Negron had become the principal vocalist, and a dissatisfied Hutton left the group in 1976; the group disbanded the following year, at least partly due to Negron's drug addiction problem.
In the mid-1980s, Three Dog Night began appearing again and performed "In My Heart" for Robotech: The Movie in 1986. In 1993, Three Dog Night performed for The Family Channel show Spotlight on Country, filmed in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with sidemen Pat Bautz, Michael Allsup, and bassist Richard Campbell.
As of 2006, they are touring actively. The current lineup features founding members Wells and Hutton on lead vocals, keyboardist Greenspoon and guitarist Allsup, with new members Paul Kingery on bass & vocals and Pat Bautz on drums.
In October of 2006 the new lineup of Three Dog Night played at Walt Disney World as part of Epcot's "Eat to the Beat" series. Wells and Hutton sang some of the songs originally led by Negron ("Joy to the World" and "Easy to Be Hard") as well as their own lead vocal hits (including "Black and White," "Never Been to Spain," and "Shambala").
Original bassist Joe Schermie died on March 26, 2002 of a heart attack. His long-term drug abuse as well as that of various other members of the group were chronicled in harrowing memoirs by Greenspoon (One Is the Loneliest Number) and Negron (Three Dog Nightmare).
Three Dog Night File Photos
Three Dog Night File Photos