One of the most successful bands of the ’60s and 70s, Three Dog Night, built a huge following in the 1960s with their high energy, harmony-driven music. While they are often remembered for only two classic hits – “One “and their greatest hit ever, “Joy to the World !” – they have many more great songs that deserve recognition. Here are my choices for the ten best Three Dog Night songs of all time.
10. It’s Easy To Be Hard (from the album “Suitable for Framing” — 1969)
Originally written for the 1960s play, “Hair,” Three Dog Night put their unique twist on the song, making it a slow-building hit, which peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s still an all-time favorite of many Three Dog Night fans. The lead vocals were sung by Chuck Negron, the band’s most popular lead singer.
9. Eli’s Coming (from the album “Suitable for Framing” — 1969)
Originally composed by Laura Nyro, the band’s remake of this classic earned them the number 10 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart back in 1969. The song breaks the bro code by warning women that Eli, a serial heartbreaker is back in town. It’s a great one, with Chuck and Cory Wells on vocals, and boy! their vocals gel, with that raspy sound typical of the Three Dog Night. The piano and harmonies are awesome, too, making it one of the great releases of the 60s.
8. Mama Told Me Not to Come (from the album “It Ain’t Easy” — 1970)
Randy Newman penned the song, and Three Dog Night put their unique harmony-driven stamp on it, making it a standout among their many chart-toppers. It was released in May of 1970 and peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and #4 on the UK Singles Chart in 2000. The song features Cory Wells singing lead vocals and has always been one of my favorites. During one of his interviews, Newman was quick to point out that the song was inspired by his lighthearted reflection of the city of Los Angeles and the music scene in the 60s. In the song, Newman assumes the character of a straitlaced young man, recounting what’s presumably his wild party days in Los Angeles, and is shocked and appalled at the same time by the level at which youths are indulging in drinking, sex, marijuana smoking, and partying, and end up recalling that his mother warned him not to come.
7. Until The World Ends (from the album The Family of Mann — 1972)
A song about love and devotion that is catchy, upbeat, and well-sung by Cory Wells: it peaked at #32 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #9 on the Canadian adult contemporary chart. It’s a slow ballad, with Cory Wells on the vocals. The harmonies create magic that’s only comparable to Beach Boys. It’s a song of hope that all is not lost and that there’s always a next time to take a stab at love again.
6. Shambala / The Show Must Go On (from the album “Cyan” — 1973)
An album of two parts, “Cyan had some great songs. In addition to the phenomenal smash hit single “Shambala” (which went gold in 1973), it also featured tunes written by Mike Love and Alan Jardine of the Beach Boys. It was released in May 1973 and peaked at #3 on the Billboard 100 chart. The song features Cory Wells on lead vocals and an orchestra that brings a different dimension. It’s a great song, though, and probably one of Three Dog Night’s most popular songs with fans. While it didn’t chart as high as some of their number one hits, it has certainly remained a staple in Three Dog Night’s live performances.
5. Out in the Country (from the album “It Ain’t Easy” — 1970)
Out in the Country was written by Paul Williams. The song stood out because it didn’t sound like anything else the band had ever done. It’s one of those songs best suited for listening outside in nature, with a huge mug of coffee and just silence all around you. Although the single release only placed at #15on the Billboard Hot 100, their fans loved it back then.
4. Liar (from the album “Naturally” — 1973)
Liar is one of the band’s most progressive songs ever. The song features a false fade-in and multiple-time changes. Don’t confuse it with the famous Queen song, “Liar,” because it’s completely different. Initially, the song was released as a single in 1971, but the band’s record label didn’t promote it properly. Three Dog Night eventually re-recorded the song for their album “Naturally” in 1973. The song’s progressiveness might have been triggered by the band’s attempt to change after their enormous success with “Joy to the World.”
3. Lady Samantha (from the album “Suitable for Framing” — 1969)
In as much as we love Hutton and Well vocals, we must admit that we’re suckers for any song that shines the spotlight on Chuck Negron. Such is the case with Lady Samantha, which appeared on Three Dog Night’s fourth studio album, Suitable for Framing. It is a song that starts as a ballad — just piano and vocals, then blasts off into a rocking number, increasing in intensity until it reaches an emotional crescendo.
2. Joy to the World (from the album “Naturally” — 1968)
Joy to the World is Three Dog Night’s biggest hit, peaking at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for several weeks in 1970. It was written by Hoyt Axton and made famous by Three Dog Night. It’s a song about sharing good vibes, a song of greeting and bringing happiness to everyone, regardless of whether or not they know you. It’s a feel-good tune that makes you want to get up and dance, especially when heard live in concert.
1. One (from the album “Three Dog Night” — 1968)
“One” was originally done by Harry Nilsson. The song was a hit for Three Dog Night in 1970, reaching number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. “One” is a love song, encouraging the listener to remember that only one person is needed to satisfy one’s desires. It’s a beautiful love song that makes you want to slow dance with someone or just kick back and relax on the couch. It was Three Dog Night’s first hit single, reaching number five in the US and four in Canada. People remember it by the opening line, “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.” Nilsson said he wrote the song after calling someone only to receive the busy signal. He stayed on the line waiting, listening to the Beep Beep Beep sound, which he would adopt as the opening notes for the song.