Why Three Dog Night Became A Songwriter’s Dream Group

Why Three Dog Night Became A Songwriter’s Dream Group | Society Of Rock Videos

via 3DogsLive/YouTube

Hit After Hit

Three Dog Night had a string of hit singles from the late ’60s to the early ’70s. Their albums spawned several songs that didn’t just chart but also became instant classics. A few of their albums earned Gold Record status. They’re brilliant musicians. Individually and as a group, their musicality is beyond measure.

But perhaps something that not everyone knows is the fact that Three Dog Night were also instrumental in introducing songwriters to mainstream audiences.

For the record, the band did write some of their tracks but most of them ended up as deep cuts. One of the founding members Danny Hutton wrote songs early on in his music career. However, he did admit that using outside songwriters helped them avoid tension and conflict. He said:

“For us, it was very tough. We really had a problem getting any of our own songs through.

“We had a bunch of leaders, everybody was a leader, and if you brought in a song, it would be so hacked up. They’d move this around, rearrange that. It really caused some friction. So it was way easier to get a great song by somebody else and dissect it.”

Aside from doing covers like “Black and White”, “Mama Told Me Not to Come”, and “One”, Three Dog Night was catapulted into global fame thanks to songs like “An Old Fashioned Love Song” (by Paul Williams), “Joy to the World” (by Hoyt Axton), and “Out in the Country” (by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols).

That’s not to say, however, that none of these songwriters would ever be famous without Three Dog Night. On the contrary, the band merely extended a helping hand. Besides, the songs stood the test of time and became commercially successful. It’s a win-win situation for both sides.

“We’re always writing stuff. The point is we’re really picky about things. We could have been like a lot of groups and crammed things down the public’s throat because we wrote them. And, of course, you make a lot of money writing your own songs. But I don’t think anybody has really felt really confident that we’ve written anything of the caliber of Nilsson or Randy Newman. And it’s proved out to be correct.” – Cory Wells

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what they did or did not do. Whether they wrote their own songs or relied on outside songwriters, it obviously worked because they ended up being household names and people still listen to their music decades later.

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