Showing posts with label three dog night. Show all posts
Showing posts with label three dog night. Show all posts

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cory Wells

By the time Three Dog Night came along, I had slipped the cusp of rock music. But one was never disconnected from pop culture in the late sixties/early seventies, because variety shows still existed and we only had three channels, so the latest sensation was impossible to miss. And music was everywhere, whether one wanted it to be or not. Music was playing on somebody's transistor radio on my school bus. Bands performed on the Tonight Show, in the last few minutes, when I was supposed to be asleep, but I threw caution to the wind and stayed up late, lying on my side with my little portable black and white TV on the table next to me, Mom's rules be damned.

So of course I heard Three Dog Night, but I was a mite confused as to who exactly was Three Dog Night and who was Blood Sweat and Tears. I quickly understood that BS&T were a pseudo-rock group, whereas Three Dog Night were the real deal. (There was a lot of that pseudo stuff in the sixties - people jumping on the bandwagon, looking for that number one single on the rock charts, when they should have been performing in a jazz club or doing old standards in front of a big band. That always irked me about the "rock" of the late sixties. The door was open and anyone could come in, and the old people liked the whole Up Up And Away vibe, because it wasn't threatening. But it wasn't rock. At least country smacked you in the face with its authenticity and didn't give a damn whether you liked it or not.)

But I had to hand it to Three Dog Night. They didn't write their own songs, but they were good at picking them. They chose from Randy Newman and Hoyt Axton and Harry Nilsson and the other guys who were pounding the pavement, trying to convince anybody to record their compositions and make enough money to go on to do the soundtrack for Midnight Cowboy.But as any songwriting loser (such as I) will tell you, it's just a song unless you got somebody awesome singing it. Three Dog Night was pretty awesome.

Cory Wells died this week. The band was supposed to be playing a show a couple of miles from where I live, but the performance was postponed due to the "illness" of one of the band members. My husband saw Three Dog Night in concert once and he said it was one of the best shows he'd ever seen. I never got to see them, and now I won't. GO SEE PEOPLE WHEN YOU HAVE THE CHANCE. The chance doesn't last forever. I once wrote a blog post about artists I wish I'd seen live. I've decided that I won't have any more "wishes". If I have the opportunity to see somebody special, I'm going. Shoot, people, time is running out!

Self-absorbed teenager that I was, I didn't realize that Three Dog Night had three lead singers. It never crossed my mind that one song sounded different from the other. If the DJ said, "Three Dog Night", I thought, okay, it's hard to imprint that sound on my brain, but that's just because I'm an idiot. Never once crossed my mind.

But Cory Wells was a good singer, now that I understand which songs he fronted.

Like this:

(So young.)

And this Randy Newman song:

In hindsight, of course, I can certainly hear the diverse voices of TDN. Like this:


One has to understand the times to grasp the utter hate I had for this next song. I'm not begrudging the band for this monster hit; I'm just saying it sucks. And it especially sucks after hearing it nine thousand times. The song was everywhere - radio ad nauseum, TV, any juke joint (okay, diner - I was a kid) one would step inside, Grocery store, Woolworth's. I maintain Hoyt Axton wrote it as a joke. I could be wrong; the times were rife with "substances". But here's the thing about this song: it's monotonous. It's not good. Three Dog Night gave it their all, and bless them, they scored a number one that refused to detach itself from the charts. But the song scarred many of us. It marked the end of pseudo-pop. It drove some of us into the arms of Merle Haggard and even George Jones.

There's a special place in hell for this song, but kudos, Hoyt Axton! My memory is long, and I don't forget.

(I'm sure it would be fun in person, though. Everybody knows the words.)

Another era ends. The era of late sixties/early seventies pop or rock or whatever we called it. (We just called it rock, FYI.)

And Cory Wells, you were a great singer. I wish I'd seen you in person. Thanks for leading us through some pretty bad times in music by lifting us up and giving us something good to grasp onto.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Someone Should Invent...

...a software program that analyzes one's musical collection, and tells them which era contained the best music.

I'm guessing, for most people, it's not the seventies.

I uploaded all my music onto Google Music, once, on a whim, because I thought it would be cool to be able to listen to my music anytime, anywhere.

Well, I never used it until yesterday, at work. I was tired of all the talk radio blah, blah, blah, so I thought, in order to get through that last day of the week, I'd queue up my Google Music and listen to that for a change.

I set it for "shuffle".

The very first song that queued up was "Play That Funky Music", from the seventies, as you know.

But the funny thing is, I never once, in the course of approximately six hours, heard another song from the seventies.

The seventies was not the epitome of good music.

Oh sure, you can quibble about it; point out the big hits from that decade. Anyone can do that with any decade; just pick out the best songs.

But, let's be honest. It was a lost decade of music, overall. Not just in rock, but in country as well.

I don't know...what I remember about country music during that time period is Charley Pride rehashing songs that were semi-hits in the rock genre. Dave & Sugar ~ remember them? Eddie Rabbitt ~ okay, I like Eddie Rabbitt.

Yes, you had your "After The Fire Is Gone", by Conway and Loretta. And you had your "Behind Closed Doors".

But you also had a whole lot of John Denver. And while I appreciate John Denver more today, that stuff was pure poison when it was happening.

And rock?

Well, sure, we had the Eagles.

And we had "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" and "Let's Get It On".

But let's be real.

THAT'S not what we remember from the seventies.

THIS is what we remember:

Along with any number of songs by Billy Joel, this goes down in history as most likely my LEAST favorite song of all time.

Sure, feel free to listen to all seven and whatever number of minutes of this song. I got the gist basically from the first verse and chorus. Talk about self-indulgent. You know, the Beatles rarely did songs that were even THREE minutes long. And look where that got them.

And, while we're on the subject of annoying songs, how about this one? Don't even tell me that you LIKE this. How could that be? It's repetitive and boring. And mundane. Additionally, it is non-sensical. Although I suppose that never stopped anyone before. I won't listen to it, but here it is, for the 1% of persons alive who have never heard this song before:

You probably won't believe this, but this song was HUGE in the seventies. Yes, really:

But thinking about it, it kind of fits with this song:

Still lovin' those seventies?

How about this?

Remember the Starland Vocal Band? Of course not! But lead singer, Alan Colmes, had a huge, and I mean HUGE, hit with this song:

And speaking of John Denver, apparently he was easy to please. Just give him some sunshine on his "shoulders". Not on his hands. Not on his face. No, on his shoulders:

And who can forget Kenny Nolan? Apparently me, because who the heck? Yet, this was a big hit in that seventies pantheon. And who doesn't love harp music?

And don't even tell me that when you hear this song:

You don't think of Eddie Murphy. Because I do. And I never hesitate to sing along:

Unce, tice
Fee tines a may-dee

Sure, reunited and it feels so good. To them, maybe:

I sincerely love how Terry Jacks performs this song with so much emotion. As if it really means something (which it doesn't):

And, of course, there are times when a woman has to say what's on her mind, but I'm thinking this is NOT the time:

I really love Glen Campbell, but that doesn't blind me to his missteps. And here's one, albeit another big hit:

So, don't go all nostalgic on me, pining for those lost days of the seventies. The seventies were crap.

I'll grant you, there were some good songs (none of them featured here, obviously). But those good songs were few and far between.

As much as you may want to re-write history, well, here it is.

I may be magnanimous and feature the GOOD songs of the seventies at some point, but really, the good songs aren't what we remember. We remember the crap.

I'm thinking that's why my Google Music selections have so few offerings from that decade. Google (and I) would prefer to just pretend it never happened.

Monday, January 24, 2011

May 19 - A Not-Too-Shabby Date For Music Lovers

Since I'm just sitting around with nothing to do; no projects on the horizon, I thought I would continue with my "Number One Song on the Day You Were Born" theme. I love music videos anyway, so it's fun to rediscover some old tunes that make me happy.

So, yes, the year of my birth (05/19/55) does not reflect the best in the annals of music. Granted.

However, to compensate for that, I checked out the charts for May 19 in subsequent years, and found stuff such as this:



all shook up elvis presley (oldies)
Uploaded by onizuka-junior. - Explore more music videos.

Unfortunately, this video is from the "Karate Elvis" years, but it was the only decent one I could find.


See, this is more my speed. Okay, the video isn't from 1958, but let's allow for better sound quality, shall we?

I was a big Everly copier, it seems. My little three-piece band, back in 1964, specialized in Everly covers. Not this one, but still. Beautiful song.


Okay, I do know that the Beatles didn't originate this song. It was Wilbert Harrison. But this is where I first heard the song, and c'mon, it's the Beatles!


Unbeknownst to me, Elvis played a big part in my early development, and I'm not even a big Elvis fan!

However, I do admit, this is one of my favorite Elvis songs. I clearly remember singing along to this, even though I just made up the words as I went, since I didn't quite catch them all:


Now we're talking. This is one of my all-time favorite rock & roll songs. And yes, I was well aware of this Del Shannon song in 1961:

Fast forward to 1964, and this:

Now, of course, we move to the truly important music of my life, this one from 1965. I love this live performance, interspersed with the "music video" the boys did for the song (which is really dumb, when you see Ringo standing over the drum kit, looking embarrassed as hell, and why wouldn't he be, with that setup?)

This song was number one in May of 1966. Here are the Mamas and the Papas lip-synching to Monday Monday.

Can anyone explain to me why the Mamas and Papas songs were mixed so strangely? Any of them you hear, half the sound comes out of one speaker and half out of the other. Who's bright idea was this? Lou Adler's, apparently. Maybe he was deaf in one ear.

1967, the summer of love. Here's an iconic song, and surprisingly, one can only find one performance video of the Rascals, doing "Groovin'". I don't know for sure, but I'd guess this was from the Ed Sullivan Show, because Ed's people did NOT know rock & roll. They focus on the harmonica player almost the whole time! Or the tambourine guy. Basically anyone except Felix, who is the star of the band. Alas. But here is "Groovin'":

I would include 1968's Archie Bell & the Drells ("Hi everybody! We're Archie Bell and the Drells! From Houston, Texas!"), doing "Tighten Up", but the only available video is of horrendous quality, so just sing the song in your head. You remember it.

Ahh, the famous rooftop performance from 1969. The swan song, as it was.

1970, from the Midnight Special. Ha ~ remember that show well. I'd come home on a Friday night, after having a few too many.....Diet Cokes....and flip on my little portable TV, and catch the last acts on the show.

Seriously, along with Felix Cavaliere, one of the greatest voices in rock & roll, Burton Cummings. Here are the Guess Who:

1971, eh? No wonder the seventies sucked for music. This has to be one of my all-time most annoying songs. Maybe it's just that I had to hear it seventy thousand times back then, or maybe it's because it's a really stupid song. No offense, Hoyt. And can you imagine how much the Three Dog Night'ers hate doing this song, as they make their rounds of the various Indian casinos? Of course, money in your pocket cures a lot of heartburn.

And, believe it or not, it goes downhill from there. So, I'm going to stop with 1971.

Oh sure, I could include "The Streak", from 1974, but really, why would I want to? I could include some bombastic Whitney Houston songs. Or Madonna, or Paula Abdul. But why ruin a nice post about music with that kind of stuff?

Well, okay, I do like 1981's selection. No, it's not Madonna or Paula or Mariah. It's someone I actually enjoy listening to.

No, really there is. Just one more. 1976. It's not entirely a performance video, alas. But it is the official video, apparently, And what's wrong with that? I'd like to know. So here I go. Again.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

More Seventies! The Number Ones!

Here we are, back to revisit the seventies. I had so much fun with the last post, I decided to keep going! Now, don't get me wrong. I'll admit to a bit of cynicism regarding this decade, but in my last post, I found a bunch of keepers. HOWEVER, as I'm browsing the list of number one songs tonight, I'm beginning to revert back to my original opinion. Interestingly, there are not a lot of number one songs for each year, because, you see, the songs that did reach number one tended to hang on to that spot for several weeks, usually. For example, in 1970, there were only 21 number one songs.

So, to totally drive this topic into the ground, I thought I would choose one number one song from each year. (My standard proviso remains: This is dependent upon what I can find on YouTube.)


Unfortunately, there's a bunch of (bad) acting before the song actually begins. But this was the best I could find. And gee, for a song that so many people hold dear, you'd think there'd be a better video available.

I never really got into the Partridge Family, I guess because I wasn't eleven at the time. I mean, c'mon, they're no Monkees. You know, if you're choosing a pre-fab band, the Monkees are way better. But who am I to stomp all over somebody's cheesy pre-teen memories?


Let me get this straight....Hoyt Axton threw a bunch of non sequiturs together, and made a "song" that someone actually recorded? Well, cool. Sign me up! I can do that. I mean, really, if you listen to the song, it makes absolutely no sense....I guess, unless you're stoned. And to this day, old Hoyt is sitting back, counting his money.

But I really, really do have to feel sorry for Three Dog Night. Can you imagine having to sing that song over and over and over and over for decades? Face it, the song gets tiresome real fast. I mean, I'm tired of it, and I haven't heard it in about 20 years.


"There were plants and birds and rocks and things". You know, those things. Not plants exactly. I guess, not birds. Or rocks. Hmm....what do you call those things?

"Cuz there ain't no one for to give you no pain". Ahhh. Truer words were never spoken.

America had better songs, but this is a nice folk-rocker, and props for sounding like Neil Young.

However, much like Hoyt Axton, people are going to become suspicious when you just string words together. I'm just saying.


Hey! Remember that show, "Midnight Special"? I do! You'd turn that on on Friday nights, after you got home from your drunken carousing. Ha Ha! That's not true!

Too bad that this is the song that most people remember Jim Croce for, because he had a whole bunch of really great songs. And, much like, "Joy To The World", this one gets tiresome pretty quickly. But search out Jim Croce videos on YouTube. You'll find some gems.


One can never really forget the pompitous of love. If one knew what that meant. But this is one of those songs that never leaves you. I remember driving around, hearing this song on the radio. Cuz they played it every 5 minutes, I think. That's okay. I like it. And it really screams, "seventies"!


You may or may not like this song. But I like it. Believe me, if you had been cleaning motel rooms, and pushing your maid's cart from one room to another in the hot sun, this was your only salvation. Thank God for the transistor radio. And you could boogie down as you were stripping sheets off the beds and cleaning toilets. Wow, those heady days of 1975. When I was making $1.25 an hour. Cleaning up after tourists. Ahh, the nostalgia. I can almost smell the Lysol now.


Well, I was pregnant when this song came out. And while I didn't have morning sickness, hearing this song could still make me puke.

Enough said. I'm feeling a little queasy just listening to it again.


I picked this one because I really kinda like it. The Brothers Gibb also had a number one song that year, coincidentally ~ "How Deep Is Your Love". But I like this one. It's a nice pop song. RIP, Andy. Nice song.


FYI ~ Perusing the number one songs from 1978, that year sucked! This is the best I could find. So, I'm nominating 1978 for "worst year ever". Sorry, Matt. I know you were born in 1978, but it's not your fault. But hey, doesn't Paul look young here? (I'm looking for something positive to say.)


Whew! I can end the seventies on a high note. I was worried! Thank you, Eagles, and thank you, Glenn Frey. Nice way to end this! And I didn't have to include even one Donna Summer song in this whole post! Lucky for me!

So, we bid a fond adieu to the seventies. Well, maybe not fond, per se. But we do bid ADIEU!

Look for more to come! The eighties are next!