Three Dog Night is an American rock band formed in 1967, with founding members consisting of vocalists Danny Hutton
, Cory Wells
, and Chuck Negron
. This lineup was soon augmented by Jimmy Greenspoon
(keyboards), Joe Schermie
(bass), Michael Allsup
(guitar), and Floyd Sneed
(drums). The band had 21 ''Billboard'' Top 40 hits between 1969 and 1975, with three hitting number one. Three Dog Night recorded many songs written by outside songwriters, and they helped to introduce mainstream audiences to writers such as Paul Williams
("An Old Fashioned Love Song
") and Hoyt Axton
("Joy to the World
The official commentary included in the CD set ''Celebrate: The Three Dog Night Story, 1965–1975'' states that vocalist Danny Hutton's girlfriend, actress June Fairchild
(best known as the "Ajax Lady" from the Cheech and Chong
movie ''Up In Smoke
'') suggested the name after reading a magazine article about Aboriginal 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 colder nights they would sleep with two dogs and, if the night were freezing, it was a "three dog night".
Musician Van Dyke Parks
, an arranger at Warner Bros Records
, disputed the above story and claimed that he coined the name. He wrote, "I wuz nuts about Hutton's girlfriend. Quite a dancer. Yet, she didn’t read Mankind magazine, nor have an inkling of anthropology and the cold aboriginal nights that inspired my suggestion."
The three vocalists, Danny Hutton
(who got his start with Hanna-Barbera Records in 1964), Chuck Negron
, and Cory Wells
(who landed a recording contract with Dunhill Records) first came together in 1967. They initially went by the name of Redwood and made some recordings with Brian Wilson
while the Beach Boys
were working on the album ''Wild Honey
''. Shortly after abandoning the Redwood moniker in 1968, the vocalists hired a group of backing musicians – Ron Morgan on guitar, Floyd Sneed
on drums, Joe Schermie
from the Cory Wells Blues Band on bass, and Jimmy Greenspoon
on keyboards – and soon took the name Three Dog Night. Morgan left the band before its first album was recorded and subsequently joined the Electric Prunes
. Michael Allsup
was quickly recruited to replace Morgan on guitar.
Three Dog Night earned 12 gold albums and recorded 21 consecutive ''Billboard'' Top 40 hits, seven of which went gold. Three Dog Night became one of the most successful bands in the United States during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Their first gold record was "One
" (US #5), which had been written and recorded by Harry Nilsson
. The group had three US #1 songs, each of which featured a different lead singer: "Mama Told Me Not to Come
" (Cory Wells
on lead), which was also their only Top 10 hit in the UK; "Joy to the World
" (Chuck Negron
on lead); and "Black and White
" (Danny Hutton
on lead). Dunhill Records
claimed that 40 million record albums were sold by the band during this time.
The band members composed only a handful of songs, and most songs Three Dog Night recorded were written by outside songwriters. Notable hits by other composers include Harry Nilsson
" (US #5), the Gerome Ragni
composition "Easy to Be Hard
" (US #4) from the musical ''Hair
'', Laura Nyro
's "Eli's Comin'
" (US #10), Randy Newman
's "Mama Told Me Not to Come
" (US #1), Paul Williams
' "Out in the Country
" (US #15), "The Family Of Man
" (US #12), and "An Old Fashioned Love Song
" (US #4), Hoyt Axton
's "Joy to the World
" (US #1) and "Never Been to Spain
" (US #5), Arkin
's "Black and White
" (US #1), Argent
's Russ Ballard
" (US #7), Elton John
and Bernie Taupin
's "Lady Samantha
" and "Your Song
", Daniel Moore
" (#3), David Loggins
's "Pieces of April" (US # 19), and "Til The World Ends" (US #32), Leo Sayer
's "The Show Must Go On
" (US #4), John Hiatt
's "Sure As I'm Sittin' Here
" (US #16), Bush
's "I Can Hear You Calling", and Allen Toussaint
's "Play Something Sweet
" (US #33).
Three Dog Night made its official debut in 1968 at the Whisky a Go Go
, at a 5 p.m. press party hosted by Dunhill Records
. They were still in the process of making their first album ''Three Dog Night
'' when they heard the favorable reactions from the hypercritical audience.
[Orloff, Kathy. "Three Dog Night—A Howling Success Story". ''Los Angeles Times'', May 23, 1971, pp. 1-q16.]
The album ''Three Dog Night'' was a success with its hit songs "One
", "Try A Little Tenderness
", and "Nobody" and helped the band gain recognition and become one of the top drawing concert acts of their time.
In December 1972, Three Dog Night hosted Dick Clark's first New Year's Eve special
, which was then entitled Three Dog Night's New Year's Rockin' Eve.
In 1973, Three Dog Night filed a $6 million lawsuit against their former booking agent, American Talent International (ATI), for continuing to advertise in the media that the band was still with their agency when in fact they signed with William Morris Agency
in October 1972. Other damages were sought due to ATI taking deposits for booking Three Dog Night, whom they no longer represented.
Joe Schermie left in early 1973 due to "problems arising that were apparently unresolvable". His replacement was Jack Ryland in 1973, and the band then became an eight-piece with the inclusion of a second keyboard player, Skip Konte
), in late 1973. In late 1974, Allsup and Sneed left to form a new band, SS Fools, with Schermie and Bobby Kimball
. New guitarist James "Smitty" Smith and drummer Mickey McMeel were recruited, but by 1975, Smith was replaced by Al Ciner
and the American Breed
, and Ryland by Rufus bassist Dennis Belfield.
By 1973, Danny Hutton was sick on a regular basis and had developed jaundice
from incessant and uncontrolled drug abuse. The band was forced to hire a registered nurse
to administer Vitamin B12
shots to Hutton and take care of him so the band could continue touring. For the albums Cyan
, Hard Labor
, and Coming Down Your Way
, Hutton did not show up for many of the recording sessions and would be present only long enough to record one song. Cory Wells became fed up with his frequent absence and Hutton was fired from the band in late 1975. He was replaced by Jay Gruska
Hours before the first concert of their 1975 tour, Chuck Negron
was arrested for the possession of narcotics but was soon released on $10,000 bond.
''Coming Down Your Way
'', released in May 1975, failed to sell well in the United States, likely due to poor promotion on account of the bands recently switched label, ABC
, and the growing popularity of disco
music. Disappointed by this, the band decided "Til The World Ends
" would be the only single released off the album, which ended up being the group's last Billboard Hot 100
Top 40 hit.
Jay Gruska toured with the band to promote their last album, ''American Pastime
'', released in March 1976. Still, the album did not sell well for the same reasons as before. However, the only single released off the album, "Everybody's a Masterpiece
" became an Adult contemporary
hit. Another former Rufus band member, Ron Stockert, was recruited as second keyboardist after Konte left in the first half of 1976. The group played their final show at the Greek Theatre
in Los Angeles on July 26, 1976.
In 1981, Three Dog Night reunited and released the ska
-inspired ''It's a Jungle
'' in 1983 on the small Passport Records
label, which garnered some airplay on the new wave
circuit. The EP failed to sell after Passport went bankrupt. The reunion featured all of the original members, except Joe Schermie
, who was succeeded by Mike Seifrit until 1982, and then by Richard Grossman, who stayed until 1984. Two guitarists, Paul Kingery and Steve Ezzo, occasionally played with the band, filling in for Allsup on dates he was not able to make between 1982 and 1984. Ezzo replaced Allsup when he departed in late 1984 to take care of some personal and family matters. Sneed was let go from the band at the same time. In early 1985, keyboardist Rick Seratte (formerly of Poco
and later with Whitesnake
and others) filled in for Greenspoon, who was ill, and the band hit the road with a revised lineup that included Seratte, Steve Ezzo, bassist Scott Manzo and drummer Mike Keeley. The band toured all through 1985, but in late '85, Negron was forced back into rehab. Seratte left the band to pursue other offers and Greenspoon rejoined the band with Negron in late 1985 and were back touring with the group.
By December 1985, after a relapse into his drug habit, Negron was let go, and the group continued with Wells and Hutton fronting the band and Paul Kingery was brought back on guitar to cover Chuck's vocal harmonies. In 1986, their song "In My Heart" was featured in ''Robotech: The Movie
More changes in personnel occurred when guitarist T. J. Parker and vocalist and bassist Gary Moon replaced Kingery and Manzo in 1988, and were replaced themselves by Mike Cuneo and Richard Campbell
Allsup returned to the group to replace Cuneo in the spring of 1991. Negron entered drug rehab, but did not return to the band.
Pat Bautz succeeded Keeley as drummer in 1993.
In 1993, Three Dog Night performed for The Family Channel
show ''Spotlight on Country'', filmed in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
. Kingery returned to the band as their bass player in 1996 following Campbell's departure.
Original bassist Joe Schermie died on March 26, 2002. In May 2002 the band released ''Three Dog Night with The London Symphony Orchestra''. The album was recorded in Los Angeles and in London at Abbey Road Studios and includes two new songs: "Overground" and "Sault Ste. Marie". They also released a DVD of a filmed symphony performance from 2000 titled ''Three Dog Night Live With the Tennessee Symphony Orchestra'' in May 2002. In the summer of 2004, 80s bassist Scott Manzo returned briefly to fill in for Paul Kingery.
In October 2004, Three Dog Night released ''The 35th Anniversary Hits Collection Featuring The London Symphony Orchestra''. The album includes live versions of "Eli's Coming", "Brickyard Blues", "Try a Little Tenderness", and "Family of Man". In August 2008, they released ''Three Dog Night Greatest Hits Live'', a compilation of previously unissued live recordings from concerts in Frankfurt, Germany
and Edmonton, London
in 1972 and 1973.
On October 24, 2009, they released three new songs: "Heart of Blues", "Prayer of the Children", and "Two Lights In The Nighttime". They issued two new songs on their ''35th Anniversary Hits Collection Featuring The London Symphony Orchestra''.
In the summer of 2012, guitarist Allsup was hospitalized for an intestinal disorder, forcing Kingery to move back to guitar, while Danny's son Timothy Hutton played bass. This happened again during the summer of 2015 when Allsup was forced to miss some shows. On March 11, 2015, Jimmy Greenspoon died from cancer, aged 67. His place at the keyboards was taken by Eddie Reasoner who had substituted for him when he took ill in mid-2014.
On October 21, 2015, Cory Wells died at his home in Dunkirk, New York at age 74. In November 2015, the band announced that singer David Morgan would be joining them on the road. He was a member of the Association
. In April 2017, Howard Laravea replaced Eddie Reasoner on keyboards. He was formerly with Frankie Valli
and the Four Seasons
On June 25, 2019, ''The New York Times Magazine'' listed Three Dog Night among hundreds of artists whose material was destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire
* Danny Hutton
– vocals (1967–1975, 1981–present)
* Michael Allsup
– guitar (1967–1974, 1981–1984, 1991–present)
* Paul Kingery – bass, guitar, vocals (1985–1988, 1996–present; substitute – 1982–1983)
* Pat Bautz – drums, vocals (1993–present)
* David Morgan – vocals (2015–present)
* Howard Laravea – keyboards (2017–present)
* Cory Wells
– vocals, rhythm guitar (1967–1976, 1981–2015; his death)
* Chuck Negron
– vocals (1967–1976, 1981–1985)
* Jimmy Greenspoon
– keyboards (1968–1976, 1981–2015; his death)
* Floyd Sneed
– drums (1968–1974, 1981–1984)
* Joe Schermie
– bass (1968–1973; died 2002)
* Jack Ryland – bass (1973–1975; died 1996)
* Skip Konte
– keyboards (1973–1976)
* Mickey McMeel – drums (1974–1976)
* James "Smitty" Smith – guitar (1974–1975)
* Dennis Belfield – bass (1975–1976)
* Al Ciner
– guitar (1975–1976)
* Jay Gruska – vocals (1976)
* Ron Stockert – keyboards (1976)
* Mike Seifrit – bass (1981–1982)
* Richard Grossman – bass (1982–1984)
* Rick Seratte – Keyboards (1985)
* Mike Keeley – drums (1985–1993)
John Mrowiec - drums ( 1979- 1980) tour
* Scott Manzo – bass (1985–1988, 2004)
* Steve Ezzo – guitar (fill-in for Allsup 1983–1984, 1985)
* Gary Moon – bass, vocals (1988–1989)
* T.J. Parker – guitar (1988–1989)
* Richard Campbell
– bass, vocals (1989–1996)
* Eddie Reasoner – keyboards (2015–2017; substitute – 2014–2015)
* Mike Cuneo – guitar (1989–1991)
ImageSize = width:1000 height:auto barincrement:15
PlotArea = left:100 bottom:90 top:10 right:20
Alignbars = justify
DateFormat = mm/dd/yyyy
Period = from:01/01/1967 till:01/01/2021
TimeAxis = orientation:horizontal format:yyyy
Legend = orientation:vertical position:bottom columns:4
ScaleMajor = increment:3 start:1967
ScaleMinor = increment:1 start:1968
id:vocals value:red legend:Vocals
id:guitar value:green legend:Guitars
id:keys value:purple legend:Keyboards
id:bass value:blue legend:Bass
id:drums value:orange legend:Drums
id:album value:black legend:Studio_album
id:live value:gray(0.7) legend:Live_album
BackgroundColors = bars:bars
bar:Danny text:"Danny Hutton"
bar:Chuck text:"Chuck Negron"
bar:Cory text:"Cory Wells"
bar:Jay text:"Jay Gruska"
bar:David text:"David Morgan"
bar:Michael text:"Michael Allsup"
bar:James text:"James Smith"
bar:Al text:"Al Ciner"
bar:Steve text:"Steve Ezzo"
bar:Paul text:"Paul Kingery"
bar:TJ text:"TJ Parker"
bar:Mike text:"Mike Cuneo"
bar:Jimmy text:"Jimmy Greenspoon"
bar:Skip text:"Skip Konte"
bar:Ron text:"Ron Stockert"
bar:Eddie text:"Eddie Reasoner"
bar:Howard text:"Howard Laravea"
bar:Larry text:"Larry Taylor"
bar:Joe text:"Joe Schermie"
bar:Jack text:"Jack Ryland"
bar:Dennis text:"Dennis Belfield"
bar:MikeS text:"Mike Seifrit"
bar:Richard text:"Richard Grossman"
bar:Scott text:"Scott Manzo"
bar:Gary text:"Gary Moon"
bar:RichardC text:"Richard Campbell"
bar:Frank text:"Frank Cook"
bar:Floyd text:"Floyd Sneed"
bar:Mickey text:"Mickey McMeel"
bar:MikeK text:"Mike Keeley"
bar:Pat text:"Pat Bautz"
bar:Danny from:02/01/1967 till:11/01/1975 color:vocals
bar:Danny from:01/01/1981 till:end color:vocals
bar:Chuck from:01/01/1967 till:07/26/1976 color:vocals
bar:Chuck from:01/01/1981 till:12/01/1985 color:vocals
bar:Cory from:01/01/1967 till:07/26/1976 color:vocals
bar:Cory from:01/01/1981 till:10/21/2015 color:vocals
bar:Jay from:11/01/1975 till:07/26/1976 color:vocals
bar:David from:10/21/2015 till:end color:vocals
bar:Michael from:start till:12/31/1974 color:guitar
bar:Michael from:01/01/1981 till:12/31/1984 color:guitar
bar:Michael from:06/01/1991 till:end color:guitar
bar:James from:12/31/1974 till:05/15/1975 color:guitar
bar:Al from:06/05/1975 till:07/26/1976 color:guitar
bar:Steve from:12/31/1984 till:12/01/1985 color:guitar
bar:Paul from:12/01/1985 till:06/01/1988 color:guitar
bar:Paul from:12/01/1985 till:06/01/1988 color:vocals width:3
bar:Paul from:06/01/1996 till:end color:bass
bar:Paul from:06/01/1996 till:end color:vocals width:3
bar:TJ from:06/01/1988 till:06/01/1989 color:guitar
bar:Mike from:06/01/1989 till:06/01/1991 color:guitar
bar:Larry from:01/01/1967 till:01/01/1968 color:bass
bar:Joe from:01/01/1968 till:12/31/1972 color:bass
bar:Jack from:12/31/1972 till:02/01/1975 color:bass
bar:Dennis from:02/01/1975 till:07/26/1976 color:bass
bar:MikeS from:01/01/1981 till:06/01/1982 color:bass
bar:Richard from:06/01/1982 till:12/01/1984 color:bass
bar:Scott from:12/01/1984 till:06/01/1988 color:bass
bar:Gary from:06/01/1988 till:06/01/1989 color:bass
bar:RichardC from:06/01/1989 till:06/01/1996 color:bass
bar:Frank from:01/01/1967 till:01/01/1968 color:drums
bar:Floyd from:01/01/1968 till:12/31/1974 color:drums
bar:Floyd from:01/01/1981 till:12/31/1984 color:drums
bar:Mickey from:12/31/1974 till:07/26/1976 color:drums
bar:MikeK from:12/31/1984 till:06/01/1993 color:drums
bar:Pat from:06/01/1993 till:end color:drums
bar:Jimmy from:01/01/1968 till:07/26/1976 color:keys
bar:Jimmy from:01/01/1981 till:03/11/2015 color:keys
bar:Skip from:11/15/1973 till:03/01/1976 color:keys
bar:Ron from:01/01/1976 till:07/26/1976 color:keys
bar:Eddie from:03/11/2015 till:04/01/2017 color:keys
bar:Howard from:04/01/2017 till:end color:keys
Lead vocal credits
*"An Old Fashioned Love Song
" – Negron
*"Black and White
" – Hutton
" – Hutton (Verse 1), Negron (Verse 2), Wells (Verse 3), who sings melody through the end refrain
*"Easy to Be Hard
" – Negron
" – Wells
*"Joy to the World
" – Negron
*"Let Me Serenade You
" – Wells
" – Hutton
*"Mama Told Me (Not to Come)
" – Wells
*"Never Been to Spain
" – Wells
" – Negron
*"One Man Band
" – Hutton sings melody with Negron on harmony on verses, then Negron takes the lead through the end refrain
*"Out in the Country
" – Group vocal in unison
*"Pieces of April
" – Negron
*"Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)
" – Wells
" – Wells
*"Sure As I'm Sittin' Here
" – Wells
*"The Family of Man
" – Hutton (Verse 1), Negron (Verse 2), Wells (Verse 3)
*"The Show Must Go On
" – Negron
*"Til the World Ends
" – Negron
*"Try a Little Tenderness
" – Wells
" – Hutton
* ''Three Dog Night
* ''Suitable for Framing
* ''It Ain't Easy
* ''Seven Separate Fools
* ''Hard Labor
* ''Coming Down Your Way
* ''American Pastime
* ''It's a Jungle
Awards and recognition
* Three Dog Night was inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame
*''Three Dog Nightmare''. Chuck Negron
. Renaissance Books 1st edition (June 1999)
*''One Is the Loneliest Number: On the Road and Behind the Scenes With the Legendary Rock Band Three Dog Night''. Greenspoon, Jimmy and Bago, Mark. Pharos Books (January 1991).
* Lawrence, Guy (2006)"Yogi Bear's Nuggets: A Hanna-Barbera 45 Guide"
Three Dog Night
*Three Dog Night
at AllMusic'Three Dog Night
Vocal Group Hall of Fame
Category:American pop rock music groups
Category:American soft rock music groups
Category:Columbia Records artists
Category:Dunhill Records artists
Category:Epic Records artists
Category:MCA Records artists
Category:MGM Records artists
Category:Musical groups established in 1967
Category:Musical groups disestablished in 1976
Category:Musical groups reestablished in 1981
Category:Musical groups from Los Angeles