70's Pick of the Week
“Black and While” by Three Dog Night (1972)
It was the summer of ’72 and I recall a portable radio blaring on top of an old wooden picnic table in my friend’s back yard. The old brown table had seen better days but the songs were brand new. Every time we were in their yard that summer that radio would be snapped on. We would be done playing football for the day and having a slurpee or something; Bill would tell dirty jokes or we would just hang out. The songs sounded so new and alive – just like we were.
|Three Dog Night|
From the radio blasted “Black and White1” by Three Dog Night. The sun felt good. The Surplee ‘brain- freeze’ not so much.
|Suitable For Framing|
“Black and White” had been done by Sammy Davis Jr. in ’59, so technically this was a ‘cover’. Almost all of their most successful songs, (and there were plenty of them) were covers.
Three singers – Danny Hutton, Cory Wells and Chuck Negron worked with Brian Wilson in the late ‘60’s under the brand name they called “Redwood”. Surprisingly nothing much happened and they decided to rebrand and add a band. The three singers would continue to share the spotlight as lead on various songs over the years, which were one of the elements that kept TDN varied in their output.
|It Ain't Easy|
They picked: Mike Allsup (guitar), Floyd Sneed (drums), Joe Shermie (bass), and Jimmy Greenspoon (keyboard) to fill out the line-up.
The first hit single in 1969 was “One” written by Harry Nilsson. This was followed up the next year with Randy Newman’s “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)”. As year late they would do their biggest hit Hoyt Axton’s “Joy to the World”. Their final number one in 1972 was “Black and While”. There final top ten hit was 1974’s “The Show Must Go On” written by Leo Sayer.
If you don’t remember or never knew Three Dog Night songs check out:
1. The Show Must Go On (Album: Hard Labor)
2. Shambala (Album: Cyan)
3. Mama Told Me Not to Come (Album: It Ain’t Easy)
4. Never Been to Spain (Album: Harmony
5. Pieces of April (Album: Seven Separate Fools)
6. An Old Fashioned Love Song (Album: Harmony)
7. Liar (Album: Naturally)
8. Easy to be Hard (Album: Suitable for Framing)
9. Play Something Sweet (Album: Hard Labor)
10. Try a Little Tenderness (Album: Three Dog Night)
By 1977 internal struggles caused them to disband. Reunions would follow but the dream was pretty much over. The magic of the summer of the brown picnic table, the slurpees, and the songs live on at least in my mind – and isn’t that what this music thing is all about?
1. “Black and White” was actually written in the ‘50’s about a Supreme Court ruling in the U.S. outlawing segregation in public schools