TITLE: Celebrate: The Three Dog Night Story
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Top 10: One (#5 US), Easy to Be Hard (#4 US), Eli’s Coming (#10 US), Mama Told Me Not to Come (#1 US, #3 UK), Joy to the World (#1 US, #24 UK), Liar (#7 US), An Old Fashioned Love Song (#4 US), Never Been to Spain (#5 US), Black and White (#1 US), Shambala (#3 US0, The Show Must Go On (#4 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Celebrate (#15 US), Try a Little Tenderness (#29 US) Sure As I’m Sittin’ Here (#16 US)
LINEUP: Chuck Negron, Danny Hutton, Cory Wells. The band usually was Jimmy Greenspoon, Floyd Sneed, Joe Schermie, and Michael Allsup
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Titanic hit makers in the late 60’s and early 70’s are featured in a pretty comprehensive collection, for better or worse.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Three Dog Night’s reign as a band that everyone could like (hippies, squares, and their parents) went from 1969 through 1974, with a top 5 record in each of those years. They had a tight band and a unique vocal blend, and they and their producers found great songs from unknown (and later known) songwriters.
Yet they were true singles artists. I don’t think they tried to just do hits + filler – but it seemed that the songs not chosen to be singles were definitely of lesser quality, and the originals (mostly instrumentals) were just…there. So a compilation is definitely the way to go. This one finds early material from Danny Hutton and Cory Wells, as well as a track when they were Brian Wilson’s protégés as Redwood.
Three Dog Night’s weaknesses (a bit bombastic, a bit rote in some arrangements) also come to fore in a long collection. There’s also some diminishing returns (drug abuse and staleness really laid the band out after 1972). Yet you can’t deny that when they were on, they made memorable hits and were a powerful, and uniting, commercial force.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Danny Hutton’s son was the tour drummer for Haim until 2017.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE A-: It may seem long for a casual fan (43 tracks), but it’s probably the best kind of overview for a band like this. All of the hits are here, and then people can pick and those the deep cuts they like.