The 20 Songs That Can Represent The Career Of Three Dog Night
via Three Dog Night/YouTube
A Series of Classics
Founded in 1967, Three Dog Night had a series of hits between 1969 and 1975. They’re known for hiring outside help when it came to writing songs but it’s no big deal because they successfully introduced several songwriters to their mainstream audience. Guitarist Michael Allsup told Rolling Stone, “Sometimes I get worried about our group. It’s like, ‘Hey, man, we gotta start getting stuff out, so people can relate to us as being creative, because people don’t realize the creativeness that goes into arranging, ’cause they don’t hear the stuff before we get it, and they write us off.'”
Here are twenty of their best songs:
20. Never Been to Spain
Originally by Hoyt Axton, Three Dog Night covered it for their seventh album “Harmony.”
19. One Man Band
It was a bigger hit in Canada peaking at #6 while it only peaked at #19 in the US.
It features the horn section from fellow rock group Chicago.
17. The Family of Man
Written by Paul Williams and Jack Conrad, it charted but it didn’t crack the top 10.
16. Try a Little Tenderness
When the band covered the song, they based it on Otis Redding’s version and it was certified gold by the RIAA.
15. Let Me Serenade You
Originally titled “I Will Serenade You”, Three Dog Night’s rendition was included on their tenth LP “Cyan.”
14. Sure As I’m Sittin’ Here
It’s their final top 20 hit.
13. Eli’s Coming
Vocalist Cory Wells called it a “great, upbeat, ‘come-and-see-me’ record, a number that people would turn out to see in concert.”
12. Easy To Be Hard
Chuck Negron took over the lead vocal duties and he truly shined in this piece.
11. Mama Told Me Not To Come
When Three Dog Night recorded it, they made it more rock ‘n roll which the listeners loved. Written by Randy Newman who enjoyed the royalty checks he got, Wells said Newman called him to say “I just want to thank you for putting my kids through college.”
Aside from recording songs penned by songwriters outside the band, they also liked to do cover versions. And the thing is, they knew how to take a song and make it their own.
9. Pieces of April
Written by Dave Loggins, they scored another hit with this.
8. Till the World Ends
Another Dave Loggins composition, it was featured on their 1975 LP “Coming Down Your Way.”
7. The Show Must Go On
With Negron on the mic, their rendition topped the US Cash Box and peaked at #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Written by Daniel Moore, he told SongFacts: “Three Dog Night heard the song through a publisher, Lindy Blaskey, who was working at ABC Dunhill Publishing. He called me and was very excited because he had gotten such a positive reaction from Three Dog Night and their producer Richie Podler. Anyway, they cut it, it was their single and it was a hit. Bless all of their hearts.”
5. Out in the Country
This was released during the first year of Earth Day, making it one of the first records to be about environmental advocacy.
4. Old Fashioned Love Song
Songwriter Paul Williams revealed to SongFacts that “it’s the quickest I ever had a song come out of me. And it sounds like it. It’s a really simple song, I wrote it in like 20 minutes. And it was a big hit.”
3. Black and White
It’s about racism and inspired by the United States Supreme Court decision that racial segregation in public schools is illegal.
Another one of their gold records, it was the opening track of their debut album.
1. Joy to the World
The band used to describe it as a “kid’s song”, it’s opening line “Jeremiah was a bullfrog” became popular and some of the words don’t make much sense. Interestingly, Three Dog Night didn’t think much of the song until it became a huge hit.