Thursday, December 11, 2014

Three Dog Night, The #29 Artist of the Seventies*

Since this group straddled two decades, they won't rank as high as you might think in either one.  You add up their hits and sales, though, and they were without a doubt one of The Top 10 Artists of their time period (1968-1974).

Three great lead singers, Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron and Cory Wells, met in 1967 and originally called themselves Redwood.  They made a few recordings with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, then hired a group of backing musicians--guitarist Michael Allsup, Floyd Sneed on drums, bassist Joe Schermie, and keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon.  The band changed their name to Three Dog Night, and signed a contract with Dunhill Records, a division of ABC.

The group got right down to business in 1968, releasing their self-titled album, also known as One.  Right from the get-go, these guys were well respected and attracted scores of fans.  Their debut release went Platinum, and contained the smash hit "One", still solidly in The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*.

Suitable for Framing was another Gold album for the group, and included the hits ""Easy To Be Hard", Eli's Coming", and "Celebrate".

So by the time the Seventies rolled around, Three Dog Night were already superstars.  And they didn't let up one bit.  In 1970, they released the album It Ain't Easy, a #8 album in the U.S. that gave them three consecutive Gold LP's.  The first single was "Mama Told Me (Not To Come)", which went to #1 in the United States, #2 in Canada, #3 in the U.K. and #10 in Australia.  The song sold over one million copies, and is another Three Dog Night tune in The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*

Another solid song was in the chute--"Out In The Country" hit #9 in Canada, and #11 among adults and #15 overall in the U.S.

Three Dog Night released the album Naturally later in the year.  The single "One Man Band" hit #6 in Canada and #19 in the United States.

The group followed with the single "Joy To The World".  All that did was top the charts for six consecutive weeks in the United States, sell over a million copies, reach #1 in Canada, and #8 in Australia, and become one of The Top 50 Songs of the Rock Era*.

<Liar by Three Dog Night on Grooveshark
Naturally quickly went Gold .  The red-hot band then hit #4 in Canada and #7 in the U.S. with "Liar", their ninth consecutive release that reached the Top 10 in at least one country.

Three Dog Night released their compilation album, Golden Bisquits, in 1971.  It went to #5 on the Album chart and also was certified Gold.

Three Dog Night released the album Harmony in 1971, and had another great song lined up next.  "An Old Fashioned Love Song" is yet another of the group's entries in The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era* club.  It also went Gold for the group, and rose all the way to #2 in Canada, and #1 on the Adult chart and #4 ovrall in the U.S.


Three Dog Night was a perfect five-for-five, as every album released turned to Gold.  The single "Never Been To Spain" roared to #3 in Canada and #5 in the United States.


The hits just kept coming.  "The Family Of Man" went to #5 in Canada and stopped just outside the Top 10 in America at #12.


TDN turned out the album Seven Separate Fools in 1972, which yielded yet another smash.  The single "Black And White" topped charts in both the U.S. and Canada.


Pieces of April by Three Dog Night on Grooveshark
Seven Separate Fools was a smash with album stations, hitting #6 and continuing the group's streak of consecutive Gold albums.  The single "Pieces Of April" rose to #6 on the Adult chart in the United States.

Jack Ryland replaced Schermie in 1973, and TDN added another keyboard player, Skip Konte, formerly with Blues Image.   In 1973, the group released their second live album,
Around the World with Three Dog Night, which also went Gold.

The group released the album Cyan with their new lineup.  "Shambala" shot up to #3 in the U.S. and #4 in Canada.


Another solid song on the album is the single "Let Me Serenade You", which peaked at #11 in Canada and  #17 in the United States.

More changes were on the way in 1974, as Allsup, Schermie and Sneed formed a new band.  Three Dog Night brought in James Smith and drummer Mickey McMeel, but the following year, Al Ciner replaced Smith and bassist Dennis Belfield took over from Ryland.

In 1974, Three Dog Night released the album Hard Labor, their eighth consecutive Gold album.  The single "The Show Must Go On" rolled up to #2 in Canada,  officially #4 in the United States (but most stations who played it had it at #1), and #6 in the Netherlands. 


Sure As I'm Sittin' Here by Three Dog Night on Grooveshark
Another hit emerged from the album--"Sure As I'm Sittin' Here". 

The group released the compilation Joy to the World:  Their Greatest Hits in 1974, and it also went Gold.

TDN released the album Coming Down Your Way in 1975, but with less successful results, as it was the first album in their history to not be certified Gold.

Hutton left in 1976, with Jay Gruska added to the group for the album American Pastime, but Three Dog Night played their final concert at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, California on July 26, 1976.

The group reunited in 1981, but Negron eventually was let go because of his drug habit.  Hutton and Wells continued to perform as Three Dog Night well into the 90's. 

Three Dog Night were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2000.

The group sold over six million albums in the U.S. alone in the Seventies, and scored 17 hits in the decade.  Eight of those went Top 10, and many near the top.  Three Dog Night enjoyed three #1 songs in the Seventies.   

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