Three Dog Night brings joy to the park
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 13:06

Three Dog Night will feature four of its original six members from the band’s debut in 1968 when it performs Saturday night at the Hertage Fair.

by Bill Gates
    And wrapped around the music, is the sound of someone promising they’ll never go.
They’ve been a long time on the road to Shambala, but the Three Dog Night that will take the main stage on Saturday looks a lot like the band that debuted in 1968.
    Well, they look much older, but, still, basically the same.
    Four of the six members have been with the band from the beginning: founding members Cory Wells and Danny Hutton, original keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon and original guitarist Michael Allsup.
    Starting in 1969 with “Try a Little Tenderness,”  and finishing in 1975 with “‘Til the World Ends,” the band had 21 consecutive top 40 hits.
    Three of those songs made it all the way to number one: “Mama Told Me (Not to Come).” (1970), “Joy to the World,” (1971) and “Black & White” (1972).
    Eleven songs made it into the top 10, and 18 straight singles reached the top 20.
    Twelve consecutive albums were certified gold.
    Which is a bummer, in a way. No matter what, a lot of people are going to be disappointed after Three Dog Night’s performance on Saturday night at the main stage on Shipway.
    There’s just no way they’ll be able to play all their hits, so some favorites are going to be left out.
    (If anyone from the band is reading this: “Joy to the World” and “An Old-Fashioned Love Song” are not optional. Just sayin’.)
    Also take into account that while Three Dog Night started in the 1960s, it’s not an oldies band.
    The group crafts and performs new material; their releases from this decade alone have sold over a million copies.
    Three Dog Night performs the new songs during concerts along with a selection of their hits. Hey, you gotta keep moving forward.
    Other than a brief hiatus from 1975 through 1981, Three Dog Night has  been touring for over 40 years.
    They’ve performed 2,200  shows since 1986, appearing at theaters, fairs, festivals, corporate events, casinos and two Super Bowls.
    It’s a “second wind” that has lasted over 30 years since that six-year break due to fatigue after seven years (1968-75) of extensive touring.
    Wells and Hutton formed Three Dog Night in 1967 with another singer, Chuck Negron, and originally called themselves Redwood.
    They hired a group of backing musicians in 1968 — Allsup and Greenspoon along with Floyd Sneed (drums) and Joe Schermie (Bass) — and became Three Dog Night.
    (On cold nights in Australia, the indigenous population would sleep huddled up with a dog for warmth. Freezing cold nights were called “three dog nights” for the number of dogs it took to stay warm. Why this was considered a good name for a band isn’t recorded.)
    Each of the band’s chart-toppers featured a different lead singer: Wells on “Mama Told Me,” Negron on “Joy to the World” and Hutton on “Black and White.”
    Three Dog Night’s hits were written by among some of the best songwriters of that, or any other era: Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Paul Williams, Hoyt Axton, Leo Sayer, John Hiatt, Elton John and Bernie Taupin.
    Negron left the band in 1985 and is currently pursuing a solo career. Sneed left the band in 1984, and Schermie died in 2002.
    Filling out the current band are Paul Kingery (bass and vocals) and Pat Bautz (drums).
    Three Dog Night starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, but it might be wise for fans to start grabbing spots on the lawn before Whiskey Train begins its show at 3 p.m.
    Technicolor Motor Home, a Steely Dan tribute band, plays at 5:30.
    Which just leaves the question: how did a bullfrog come to have some mighty fine wine?