Three Dog Night (minus 2) is the REAL DEAL

A few months ago, we attended a concert that was billed as “Three Dog Night”, and let me tell ya…they sounded pretty bad.  Not the band we expected, the one with all the hits we remember so fondly.  Turns out, it was 2 of the three “Dogs”…the missing one?  Their lead singer and soul of the band, Chuck Negron.  I did some research, and sure enough, the 3 guys who formed the band, Chuck and the other 2, had a falling out back when Chuck fell into the world of drugs and substance abuse.  Fed up with his erratic behavior at the time, they essentially threw him out and gathered some other guys and continued their careers with a band they called “Three Dog Night”, but without the distinctively amazing voice of their lead singer. 

Chuck Negron and Steve

Chuck Negron IS Three Dog Night

Imagine seeing the Rolling Stones without Mick.  Or Aerosmith without Steven Tyler.

And to make matters even more confusing, the 2 original dogs have gone so far as to rewrite the biography of the band, leaving out Chuck’s name and valuable contributions to the band.  They ignore the fact that the voice we all know and love, the one that sang “Jeremiah was a bullfrog” and so many other memorable lines, is no longer in the band.  True, the lead vocals were handled by others at times, but most of the hits, the real classic Three Dog Night songs, were anchored by Chuck Negron.

I am not mentioning these other 2 guys by name, I don’t really feel I should, since they have deleted Chuck from official accounts of the iconic band.  But I can tell you this; if you see the band advertised as “Three Dog Night”…stay away.  They sound like a bad cover band.  But they own the name and they have prevented Chuck from using the name of the group he helped found, so if you are not a music lover who knows of the details behind this mess, you could be fooled into thinking you are seeing the real deal, when in fact, it is just a name that is owned by people who are not necessarily the real deal.

It’s just like the Beach Boys…Mike Love, the lead singer, licenses the name, and even though he is the only real original member of the Beach Boys in that band, the only remaining real live members of the band, Brian Wilson (the creative genius and only remaining brother) and Al Jardin frequently perform with thei own bands but they cannot call themselves the Beach Boys.  Weird.  (By the way, if you want to hear the sounds of the Beach Boys, Al Jardin has assembled most of the actual musicians who played with the Beach Boys on tour and on many of the records, so they get it, as opposed to Mike Love who uses low-cost musicians to play the band’s songs without staying true to the sound).

Chuck Negron, by the way, makes it a point to thank the other 2 guys at each concert, saying he would not be there without them…I have talked with Chuck about this and he would love to see the day when the 3 of them could be together onstage again, but he doubts they would ever do that.  Who knows.

Chuck makes it all real, though…it’s like listening to the original Three Dog Night, with a cracker jack band of musicians, including his son on bass, and a flawless recreation of the sounds.  Chuck’s voice is one of the most distinctive and powerful voices in all of rock and roll.  It’s amazing that he can still sound as great decades later.  He’s the ultimate performer, and he is gracious and thankful to all the fans who have stayed with him and support his music.

His show this weekend featured a first for him; his 2 daughters each came out onstage and sang, with proud daddy filming them from the sidelines, it was a special moment that the crowd at the Cannery had the chance to see and experience.

Fellow Eagle Paul Ezen and darling wife Kim were in town and got to enjoy the show with Jan and I, although I think Kim disappointed she didn’t get to join the band onstage as she did last time (with Gary Sinese) but maybe next time Kim?

Also on the bill was Blood, Sweat & Tears, who sounded pretty good,  even without David Clayton Thomas on vocals…hard to replace such a memorable, powerful voice without noticing, but it was a fine rendition of the classic hits of BS&T.

Kathie Spehar (entertainment director for Cannery) did it again, bravo to her for another fabulous night of classic rock.

Read the rest of the great articles in this week’s digital magazine


About stevedacri

Writer - Director - Prestidigitator Editor-in-Chief
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38 Responses to Three Dog Night (minus 2) is the REAL DEAL

  1. Ashley Zimmer says:

    Oh please…… Three Dog Night was three EQUAL parts. They had 3 number 1 songs, and each of them sang the lead on one. Chuck and Cory MAY have had more singing contributions than Danny…. but to make it sound like Chuck was 90% of Three Dog Night is ridiculous.

    • stevedacri says:

      Thanks for your opinion. I never stated Chuck was 90% of Three Dog Night. And Chuck himself has told me on several occasions that he appreciates the other guys and goes out of his way to thank them at each and every show. The fact that they refuse to acknowledge his contributions to the band and leave him out of their history is wrong and insulting. I’d love to see them bury the hatchet and come together once again, but seems they (Cory and Danny) are not capable of that.

      • Ashley Zimmer says:

        The caption on your picture says “Chuck Negron IS Three Dog Night” That pretty much says you think he’s 100% of 3DN. You also say “Imagine seeing the Rolling Stones without Mick. Or Aerosmith without Steven Tyler.” Chuck was one of 3 singers in the group. Mick and Stevie are the only singers in their group.

        You are obviously influenced by having talked to Chuck. Have you talked to Danny or Cory to get their side of the story? Didn’t think so. I’ve heard all 3 of them sing lately and all are not what they used to be, and all have about the same percentage of their voice left.

      • Frank says:

        I’ve seen Chuck perform and he’s very gracious towards his former bandmates. That they’ve chosen not to do the same says alot about their character or lack of. Actions speak louder than words. These are the same two who did everything they could to stop “One” from being released as a single simply because it’s mostly Chuck. Yet, there was no problem with them releasing “Try A Little Tenderness” which is all Cory.

      • ClassicRock says:

        Does this information about the band trying to stop “One” as a single exist anywhere outside of Chuck Negron’s claim? Curious.

    • Frank says:

      The fact is Cory and Chuck DID have more singing contributions than Danny. Danny, by his own admission, didn’t even show up to record on some of the later sessions. They each sang lead on a #1 song. However, Chuck sang lead on 5 Top Ten hits, Cory sang lead on 4 and Danny sang lead on 2.

  2. There will always be disputes when band members go their separate ways for whatever reason. It took 7 members to make Three Dog Night and three of them made great vocal harmony together. We each then decide who’s voice it is that works that magic in our soul. Chuck’s voice was the one that made that magic for me. His smooth vocals on so many great tunes can warm even the most hardened of hearts. His thanking the other two dogs just shows he is the better and bigger man. He is warm, personable and very friendly to his fans. This makes him stand out amongst his fellow dogs who snub the opportunity. As far as I am concerned he is much better off without the others and his fans will attest to that.
    Thank you for your nice article.

  3. Gregg Sutak says:

    I thought your review was 100% accurate. In their prime the other 2 dogs had good voices, but they’re not what they used to be. Chuck’s voice, on the other hand, is better than it was back then. Also, while Jimmy Greenspoon is an outstanding musician, only a B-3 organ, which Chuck’s keyboardist Carlos uses, can accurately recreate TDN’s distinctive sound. TDN without Chuck is basically the Cleveland Cavaliers without LeBron James.

    • Ashley Zimmer says:

      Hilarious. Danny is the one who formed the group. It was Danny or Cory singing lead on classics like ‘Eli’s Coming’, ‘Never Been to Spain’, ‘Black and White’, ‘Mama Told Me Not to Come’, and ‘Shambala’, just to name a few.

      The analogy with LeBron and Cleveland is a joke, right?

      • Frank says:

        It’s also hilarious that of the 5 songs you listed, Danny is the lead voice on just one of them. Few people even realize Danny sang any leads at all.

      • Mike C. says:

        Agreed. The original article is misleading and blatantly false. First, Chuck was *never* considered the lead singer of the group. Ever. As you’ve noted, Danny put the group together (whose voice sounds better than ever, BTW) as three equal singers whose strengths are in different areas. Chuck was never written out of the biography of the band. Have you seen the double disc Celebrate – The Three Dog Night Story? Considering Chuck’s absence for at least two tours back in the ’80’s, when Three Dog Night still announced the temproary absence of Chuck due to his not feeling well, it seems like they stuck it out as long as they could. It was then Chuck’s reluctance to tour playing the previous hits that estranged him from the band, not the other way around. BTW, Three Dog Night uses 4 of the original 8 musicians from the band, and the current incarnation of the band has been playing this music for at least twice as long as the original band members. The original article here is flawed and woefully inaccurate.

      • Tony Lopez says:

        Hi Ashley, I see you stay away from responding to Steve’s main point!
        I have been folllowing Chuck for 19 Years now, about 3 shows per Year “some 55+ shows” (including the filming of the DVD) in each and every show he not only mentions every original member but he THANKS THEM! Why is it that the other two fail to make mention of him? Why is it that they act as if he never excisted?
        Do You Know why Ashley? I think I do but……..

      • ClassicRock says:

        Tony, does any band mention former members when they perform? It’s easy to see why former members mention their former bands in order to tie themselves to the history.

  4. JLM says:

    Great article Steve! Right on the money with your take on Three Dog Night. Chuck’s amazing voice is the heart and soul of whatever song he is singing in whatever band he is in. I have always primarily been a fan of his awesome voice, where ever he may take his talent the fans will follow. Great is great and that’s Chuck Negron.

    • ClassicRock says:

      My main issue with the “review” and some of the posts here is that for Chuck Negron to be good, some insist that the current line up of Three Dog Night has to be bad. Let Chuck Negron stand on his own impressive resume and performances. It seems way too many times that I see something about Chuck Negron, it just runs down Three Dog Night. That doesn’t make me think, “oh wow, I gotta go see Chuck Negron because he sucks less than Three Dog Night does now.”
      To the observer, it appears as if the people in Three Dog Night like to be part of a band and Chuck Negron is trying to prove he was the band. Some of us older guys don’t buy that, although we love all of the people that made the hit records 36 to 41 years ago. Three Dog Night was a band.

  5. Mike C. says:

    This is inaccurate. Jimmy Greenspoon, who was a major driving force behind the band, is still in the band. Michael Allsup is back in the band, also from the original band. Chuck was never the lead singer of the band. If you go back through the old discs, you’ll find that the music was quite equally divided between the three singers, if not a little light on Danny Hutton, who really had the original vision for the band. The remaining band hasn’t rewritten history, they’ve actually made mention of Chuck in past concerts. They were a kick-ass band when they first toured without Chuck, when they made excuses for his absence (“Chuck isn’t feeling well, but he will be back”). They did this for at least two tours that I saw, and eventually gave up on bringing him back into the fold. It became apparent that he didn’t/doesn’t want to do the old material but instead focused on his original material. That’s fine for him, and while I’m slightly disappointed that the band has become more of an “oldies” band, they still put a lot of energy out and have a kickin’ group of instrumentalists, all of whom have been doing this music with this band far longer than the original band members.

    If you’re a Chuck Negron fan, fine. However, don’t try to pass yourself off as a Three Dog Night fan. Chuck didn’t want in back a number of years ago, and he dragged the band through a number of problems back then. Announcing something on stage is vastly different than actually calling up Danny or Jimmy and discussing a reunion.

  6. Milt Borel says:

    Curious opinion….I agree with you when you say the other 2 singers (Cory and Danny) have taken a pretty hard-line stance against Chuck…And I also agree that it is childish and offensive for his name to be left out of their history. Have you read Jimmy Greenspoon’s or Chuck’s books? I have, and IMHO some of the things that Chuck put the band through in the ’70s due to his drug use could be interpreted as “unforgivable” by some…Apparently Cory is the one who is against working with Chuck again. Cory (according to himself) has never touched a drug in his life. Anyway, I’ve been a professional guitarist for over 35 years, and I would hardly refer to the current 3 Dog Night as a “bad cover band.” Also, you seem to have no problem praising the new Blood, Sweat and Tears who I’m pretty sure contain fewer original members than the current 3DN…Anyway, in my perfect world, 3DN would all get back together, Steve Perry would rejoin Journey, Dennis DeYoung would come back to Styx, etc., etc. Oh, and BTW, Chuck did NOT sing lead on the following: “Black and White,” “Shambala,” “Never been to Spain,” “Mama told me not to come,” “Sure as I’m sittin’ here,” “Liar,” “Try a little tenderness,” and he SHARED lead vocals on “Celebrate,” “Eli’s Coming,” and “The Family of man,” and I could list more….
    I just thought the term “bad cover band” was a bit harsh. Last time I saw the new 3DN was about a year ago, and they sounded great. I DID miss Chuck, but, let’s face it, most of these so called “new” versions of classic acts don’t even have their ONE original lead singer in the lineup. And remember that the new 3DN has FOUR original members in its current lineup: Danny Hutton, Cory Wells, and guitarist Michael Allsup and keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon. That’s 3 more than Chuck’s got….I guess what I’m trying to get across is: I have both live DVDs…Chuck’s and the 3DN one with the Tennessee orchestra. I miss Chuck on the 3DN one and I miss Danny and Cory on the Chuck one….Whatcha gonna do???? LOL! But, BOTH DVDs are very professionally produced and both bands do a fine job recreating the classic hits. I just wish they could just “all get along!!!” I DO agree (and WISH!!) that all 3 SHOULD be back together, but I guess that won’t be happening any time soon. Hey, Cream buried the almost 4-decade old hatchet, who knows!?? Thanks for letting me voice my 2 cents…PS….Danny Hutton started 3 Dog Night….A little fact-checking always goes a long way…

    • ClassicRock says:

      If singing one line in the intro is sharing lead vocals on Eli’s Coming, then it could be said that they all shared lead vocals on many of the songs. It’s great that each singer was the featured vocalist on a #1 record for the band. Very unique. The three voices together was like nothing before or sense.

  7. Mark Conway says:

    I just want to say I agree with some of this article. I have a DVD of Three Dog Night in Nashville, and it is just Cory and Danny. That would be ok but when they showed pictures of the band from the old days…they had airbrushed Chuck Negron out of the pictures! Disgusting! I find it so childish, and very sad they would act that way. It’s almost like the old communist days in Russia, one day Stalin’s guys are in the picture, the next…they are arrested, dead, and “airbrushed” out of the picture. I don’t care how angry they might be at Chuck Negron, to deny their famous musical past…stupid in my opinion.

    • ClassicRock says:

      Did it occur to you that they may not have the rights to use Chuck Negron’s photos in the DVD?

      How do you know that Cory Wells and Danny Hutton are mad at Chuck Negron?

      • stevedacri says:

        According to Chuck, the guys still hold a grudge and refuse to acknowledge him, they could have used his photos on the DVD but chose not to.

      • ClassicRock says:

        I just did a simple google news search and found current Three Dog Night interviews where Chuck is mentioned.

  8. ClassicRock says:

    There are still 4 original members in Three Dog Night today. To claim that any one of the three original lead singers was THE lead singer of the band is a falsehood.

  9. Mark says:

    I too have seen both “2-Dog Night” and the solo Chuck Negron perform live in recent years. Each, several times. I disagree that “2-Dog” sounds like a “bad cover band,” but they are missing key ingredients to the original band. Namely: Chuck and Floyd Sneed. The funny thing is that almost everyone in the audience wonders how they can call themselves “THREE Dog Night” (people whispering to one another .. “where’s Chuck?”) when they continue their ridiculous feud with Chuck! Most even know the circumstances that set up the Chuck ban .. and Chuck publicly confessed in his autobiography “Three Dog Nightmare.” There is no doubt that he put himself in those circumstances that hurt — almost killed — himself and his bandmates. But to continue this inane feud makes Danny and Cory now look petty, vindictive, and ridiculous, and only hurts the fans who made them the successes that they became! They won’t even allow mention of Chuck or Floyd on their Facebook page. Merely mentioning either results in a threat to delete messages and ban “Friends.” I don’t have a “dog” in the hunt against ANY of the three, but it’s not like the fans are going to forget Chuck!

    Chuck is a changed man. It’s time for the two other Dogs to finally bury their hatchets and give their fans what they want! “THREE Dog Night!”

    • ClassicRock says:

      The sad reality of classic bands is that people outside of longtime fans can’t name most members of bands like Three Dog Night. Chicago sells way more concert tickets than Peter Cetera even though Peter Cetera has had huge solo hit singles and a Grammy as a solo artist.

      • Mark says:

        Well .. that’s certainly true that many of those bands are now touring with very few (sometimes zero .. has anyone seen “The Byrds Celebration”?) if only one original member. This is often because many 60s and 70s members have either moved on to other non-entertainment careers or unfortunately, have met their demise. Sure, a feud or two plays a part in a few. But TDN is special. ALL three of the key members are still recording and performing. And anyone familiar enough with TDN to want to attend their concerts knows Chuck, Danny, and Corey. It’s time for T(wo)DN to stop pretending like everyone has forgotten the third dog. Everyone knows who is missing! While I enjoyed somewhat the Two Dog show, I also was WELL aware that Chuck wasn’t there for whatever, now, petty squabble.

        OTOH .. Chicago has always been much bigger than Cetera. They have now spanned 4 decades of performing at a high level (granted, the last ten or more years with no hits and only a few remaining members. And besides, Terry Kath’s death pretty much killed the heart and soul of Chicago). Cetera’s solo success spanned maybe 10 years.

      • ClassicRock says:

        I just looked at Chuck Negron’s bio on his website. There is no mention of Danny Hutton, Cory Wells or any other members of Three Dog Night from the past.

    • Mike C. says:

      Is he really a changed man? Seems like he’s got it in for the remaining band members, and posts regularly his bitterness toward them:

      Doesn’t seem very gracious to me. I don’t know that it’s up to Danny and Corey to bury the hatchet. Seems to me that this man is a dick…

  10. ClassicRock says:

    Does Michael McDonald bill himself as “formerly of The Doobie Brothers”? Does Peter Cetera bill him self as “Formerly of Chicago”? Does Sting bill himself as “Formerly of the Police”?

    I have yet to see a review of any of these artists that spends any time talking down their former bands. Is there a review of the show you saw “a few months ago” on your blog? Why give a months old show a bad review instead of actually reviewing the show you just saw with Chuck Negron?

  11. Norm Richards says:

    I’m a little alarmed at the knock on musicians in this article. Classic rock road acts are full of players of everykind these days. Yes, I think it’s marvellous when stars of the past can still get up on stage and belt it out. Most of us who started rock groups throughout the sixties and early seventies loved what we did. Many of us still try to re-live those joyous moments of stepping on stage and performing just as we did in say, 1966. I write about it now and remember the glory of being a star even for a moment or two. I loved Chuck Negron’s singing and attended Three Dog Night concerts and cried hearing them for the first time. An artist can do that to you, make you cry. I loved it then and I enjoy classic rock musicians everywhere today for doing it. Chuck and I are FB pals and so is Jimmy Lyon who created the sound behind Eddy Money. No, we are not perfect but we still play and love every bit of what we do. God bless.

  12. Gregg Sutak says:

    Hi Ashley. I’ve been busy the last few days working at my Church’s festival. Hope you read and respond to this, so we can continue our debate. Would you answer 2 questions in your reply? #1, Have you seen both TDN’s and Chuck’s live performances recently? #2, Have you read both, Chuck’s and Jimmy Greenspoon’s autobiograpies? Chuck was not the only one with a drug and/or alchohol problem. It’s only by the grace of God that other dogs received the goft of sobriety sooner than Chuck did. You refer to the hits that Danny and Cory had with TDN, but make no mention of the hits Chuck had. “Easy to be Hard”, “One”, “Pieces of April”, and some silly song about a frog. A song that Danny and Cory both passed on.
    Are you aware of the time in 1993 when Chuck had a tentative recording deal with MCA? They wanted to see if he could still perform live, so Chuck asked Danny and Cory if he could do two songs with them at an upcoming concert in LA. Cory told Chuck they couldn’t, because they’d been feeding their fans hamburger for so long, that if they gave the fans a piece of steak, they’d never be able to feed them hamburger again. Have you listened to any of Chuck’s post TDN solo recordings? He could do a whole show without doing a single TDN song, if he wanted to. But that’s not what the fans come to see.
    The opening line to “Easy to be Hard” is “How can people be so heartless?” Danny and Cory can do this song “Til the World ends” but until they’re ready to live it, I really wish they’d take it out of their show. And no, I was not joking about my reference to LeBron James. It is what it is.

    • ClassicRock says:

      Your source for the hamburger line in 1993 is? Chuck Negron had a solo deal offer and could only perform with Three Dog Night to prove he could still perform?

  13. ClassicRock says:

    Here is some “research” on Three Dog Night’s 21 Top 40 Billboard hits from The Complete Hits Singles and Three Dog Night Story album liner notes. This is sorted by each of the three lead singers.

    Cory Wells – 8 songs
    Mama Told Me Not To Come #1
    Shambala #3
    Never Been To Spain #5
    Eli’s Coming #10
    Sure As I’m Sitting Here #16
    Let Me Serenade You #17
    Try A Little Tenderness #29
    Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues) #33

    Chuck Negron – 7 songs
    Joy To The World #1
    Easy To Be Hard #4
    Old Fashioned Love Song #4
    The Show Must Go On #4
    One #5
    Pieces Of April #19
    ‘Til The World Ends #32

    Danny Hutton – 2 songs
    Black & White #1
    Liar #7

    “Shared Vocals” – 4 songs
    Celebrate # 10
    Family Of Man #12
    Out In The Country #15
    One Man Band #19

  14. Mike C. says:

    Danny: “Chuck will admit that he had a tough time with drugs; he said he was in rehab about 30 times,” he said in a respectful tone. “When we got back together, in the mid-1980s, Chuck said, in the middle of a tour, ‘I can’t finish the tour.’ But the train has to roll on. We couldn’t wait any longer.”

    That’s how I remember it from the ’90’s.

    Here’s an interview with Cory that mentions Chuck:

    Here’s a recent listing about the band and about Chuck: “A couple weeks ago the current edition of Three Dog Night, which includes two of the original three singers, played the Molson Canal Concert Series in Lockport. Tonight the other guy, Chuck Negron, comes to entertain at 7:30 in the Fairgrounds Free Summer Concert Series at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg. Billing himself as ‘The Voice of Three Dog Night,’ his set these days includes plenty of the old favorites, from ‘Shambala’ to ‘Joy to the World.’

    Sounds to me like Chuck’s solo career isn’t doing as well as he’d like, he’s returned to riding the TDN coattails, and now would like back in, probably demanding more money than the other two singers. I seem to remember in the ’90’s, Chuck was billing himself as “The Voice of Three Dog Night”, but he wanted nothing to do with touring with them. Karma’s a bitch.

  15. 77dx says:

    Three Dog Night was magic. I saw them in their prime, and I’ve seen them a number of times since then. While a lot of us would be in rock and roll heaven for the three to get along for a tour, it’s not going to happen. I’ve read Jimmy’s book and Chuck’s book. A lot of hurtful things have happened and are still happening. No healing will occur until each of the three learns to keep their comments to themselves. I’m not holding my breath. It should be about the fans, but it’s not.

  16. Steve Rath says:

    I love hearing Chuck sing wether with Three Dog Night or just him in his solo carer. We can’t change the past. so why dwell on it ? No Three Dog Night doesn’t sound as good with out Chuck but to me they still sound good.

  17. Donnie K says:

    my opinion is maybe Chuck should make amends privitely with Cory and Danny and they could do one tour together with Floyd playing congas and ocassional drumming like he does with Chuck and use the current 3 dog night lineup you would imagine with a legacy such as theirs they could create wonderful music FOR ONE TOUR instead of holding on to grudges CMON GUYS let it go on both sides and instead give your fans what we want forget about money matters and old grudges think about your fans and the music just let it go and for one night be the old 3 dog night

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