Along with very good voices, the three vocalists that made up Three Dog Night, one of the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll between 1969-75, also had very good ears.
“Nobody really wrote songs for us,” said Chuck Negron, an original band member who will be performing at 8 p.m. Saturday as part of the Happy Together Tour at Palace Theatre in Albany. “But we did become very good at listening to songs, and we found some writers and we nurtured them. We had very good ears. We found songs, we picked them, and we became good producers.”
Three Dog Night, which along with Negron included vocalists Cory Wells and Danny Hutton and four other musicians, produced 21 top 40 hits, 10 platinum albums and three No. 1 songs, “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” “Joy to the World,” and “Black and White.” They didn’t write that many songs themselves, and instead used the works of songwriters such as Paul Williams, Laura Nyro, Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson.
“When the three of us got together at first and tried to write a song, it produced a lot of anxiety and resentment,” said Negron, who turned 75 last week. “We just didn’t work well in that context. We started injecting a lot of personal stuff at each other and I can remember thinking, ‘Boy, this is bad.’ We had to do something or else we were going to break up.”
So, the trio went after songwriters and songs that had in most cases already been recorded, found four good musicians to back them (Jimmy Greenspan on keyboards, Joe Schermie on bass, Michael Allsup on guitar and Floyd Sneed on drums), and then headed out on tour opening for bigger acts, such as Steppenwolf and Vanilla…
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