Three Dog Night is an American rock band best known for their music from 1968 to 1975. As of 2010, they are still recording and making live appearances.
The band started in 1968 with three lead vocalists, Danny Hutton (who got his start with Hanna-Barbera Records in 1965), Chuck Negron, and Cory Wells (who landed a recording contract with Dunhill Records). They had made some early recordings in 1967 with Brian Wilson and initially went by the name of Redwood. Shortly after abandoning the Redwood moniker, 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 in the United States during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Three Dog Night earned 13 gold albums and recorded 21 Billboard Top 40 hits, seven of which went gold. Their first gold record was "One" (US #5), which had been written and recorded by Harry Nilsson. They had three US 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 record albums were sold by the band during this time period.
As its members wrote just a handful of songs on the albums, most songs Three Dog Night recorded were written by outside songwriters. Notable hit covers include Randy Newman "Mama Told Me Not to Come" (US #1), Laura Nyro "Eli's Coming" (US #10), Russ Ballard of Argent "Liar" (US #7), Hoyt Axton ("Joy to the World" (US #1) and "Never Been To Spain" (US #5)), Elton John and Bernie Taupin ("Lady Samantha" & "Your Song"), John Hiatt "Sure As I'm Sittin' Here" (US #16), Bush "I Can Hear You Callin'", Leo Sayer "The Show Must Go On" (US #4) and Harry Nilsson's "One" (US #5).
The band also popularized songs by Paul Williams ("An Old Fashioned Love Song" (US #4) and "Out in the Country" (US #15)) as well as "Easy to be Hard" (US #4) from the musical Hair.
Joe Schermie was replaced by Jack Ryland in 1973, and the band then became an eight-piece with the inclusion of another keyboard player, Skip Konte. In late 1974, Allsup & Sneed left to form a new band, SS Fools, with Schermie. New members James "Smitty" Smith and Mickey McMeel were recruited but by 1975 Smith was replaced by Al Ciner from Rufus and The American Breed and Ryland by Rufus bassist Dennis Belfield. By 1976 their run of hit records had ended and Hutton was succeeded by Jay Gruska. However, this lineup was short lived. Another former Rufus band member, Ron Stockert, was recruited as second keyboardist after Konte left that same year. After a summer concert tour was cut short, the short lived lineup played their final show at the Greek Theater 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 for the next two years and eventually 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 1985, a spring and summer tour was postponed after Negron and Greenspoon were forced to enter drug rehab and the band hit the road in late 1985 with a revived lineup including guitarist and vocalist Kingery, bassist Scott Manzo and drummer Mike Keely.
By December 1985 after a relapse back into his drug habit, Negron was let go and the group continued with Wells and Hutton fronting the band. In 1986, their song "In My Heart" was featured in Robotech: The Movie.
There were more changes in personnel 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 (musician) during 1989. Allsup returned to the group in the spring of 1991 and Pat Bautz succeeded Keely 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 as their bass player in 1996. Original bassist Joe Schermie died on March 26, 2002.
Negron was eventually able to clean up his life, has been drug-free since September 1991, and is currently pursuing a solo career.
In May 2002, Three Dog Night With The London Symphony Orchestra was released. The album was recorded in Los Angeles and in London, England at Abbey Road Studios. The album includes two new songs "Overground" and "Sault Ste. Marie".
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, Three Dog Night Greatest Hits Live, a compilation of previously unissued live 1972 and 1973 recordings from concerts in Frankfurt, Germany and Edmonton, England was released.
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