Three Dog Night to play something sweet in TiffinWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Three Dog Night is working on a disc, its first in nearly 30 years. There’s a blistering rocker, “Heart of Blues,” and an a cappella ballad, “Prayer of the Children.” Listen at www.myspace.com/threedognight.
“We’re very proud of the a cappella song. That’s the first time in 41 years that all six of us sang together,” Danny Hutton said. “It’s a very tough song because it has the same melody in the chorus every time, yet the harmony parts are never the same … we haven’t done it live yet.”
Three Dog Night will bring that three-part harmony to the Ritz Theatre in Tiffin for a 7:30 p.m. show March 6. Limited tickets from $30 to $50 remain.
“We’ll probably be doing ‘Heart of Blues’ and we might throw in some obscure album cuts, but, in general, we’re going to play the hits,” the singer said during a phone call from his California home.
And the group has a lot of hits. Between 1969 and 1974, Three Dog Night released 21 consecutive Top 40 hits, including “Joy to the World,” “One,” “Black and White,” “Shambala,” “Easy to Be Hard,” “An Old-Fashioned Love Song,” “Eli’s Coming,” “Never Been to Spain,” “Celebrate” and “Pieces of April.”
“It was a whirlwind,” Hutton said. “It seemed like we were always in the studio. We toured all the time and on the itinerary it would say, OK, you have four days at home before you go out on tour again or go into the studio. Those four days, you get home and unpack, then you’d have a meeting with the manager, you’d have a bunch of interviews to do, a bunch of new pictures to be taken, so it was just a whirlwind.”
It was Hutton’s idea to have a band with three lead singers.
“When I was in my late teens, I formed folk groups and different vocal groups, and they were always trios. And when I started recording, I worked with Hanna-Barbera Records, the guys who do ‘The Flintstones’ and all of that stuff; they had me pretending I was different groups, and I would do the lead and all the background parts on it,” he said. “So when I did my own solo stuff, I always had three-part harmony; I would have myself and I would do the other parts.”
In 1968, Hutton teamed with singers Cory Wells and Chuck Negron.
“What [Three Dog Night] did different is — you know, Motown had a lot of vocal groups, there are a lot of vocal groups, but they usually feature one person that always sings the lead, and then all the other guys or girls are in the background, but we always kind of mixed our harmonies almost equal volume, kind of treated the vocals like a horn section, so we ended up getting a mixed-back vocal sound.”
The trio also recorded good songs.
“A majority of our songs don’t have an expiration date on them; they’re mainly songs about feelings and emotions, or else they were songs about having a good time at parties. I think that kind of stuff is universal,” Hutton said.
The group disbanded in 1976 and reformed in 1981. Negron, suffering from drug addiction, was let go in 1985. Hutton and Wells tour with original band members Jimmy Greenspoon, keyboards, and Michael Allsup, guitar; bassist and vocalist Paul Kingery and drummer Pat Bautz complete the lineup.
Asked about a reunion, Hutton said, “Never say never. Chuck went through a really bad, bad period. He writes about it in his books and stuff. He’s doing fine out there doing a solo thing. You know, we have not been together since ‘85, and Three Dog Night constantly, I mean, they weren’t some hired band. Those guys were part of the group; I don’t think people realize that. They’re a big part of all those hit records. The majority of the group we have is original … So to me, there’s no reunion; this is Three Dog Night.”
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