Okay, I was at a party and I had mentioned that I had never been to Spain. Tom said, hey that’s a song. I said by who. He said he could not recall. I Googled it… And the rest is history…
Three Dog Night – Celebrate: The Three Dog Night Story, 1965-75
“Never Been to Spain” has been in constant rotation ever since that party, I love this song! Here is a little lyrical taste…
“Well I never been to Spain
But I kinda like the music
Say the ladies are insane there
And they sure know how to use it
Well I never been to England
But I kinda like the Beatles
Well, I headed for Las Vegas
Only made it out to Needles…
Well I never been to heaven
But I been to Oklahoma…”
The band was formed in 1968 and had three lead vocalists, Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron and Cory Wells.
Most people my age will know the band from the soundtrack of The Big Chill, which was a pivotal album and movie for me. In fact, it may be the first soundtrack I ever owned… What a joy it was… and it featured the number one song “Joy To The World.” That’s the way I found Three Dog Night… and with a lot of music like this, I worked backwards to get to it and really discover the bands.
Their other number one hits were “Mama Told Me Not to Come” (written by genius Randy Newman with Cory singing) and “Black and White” (cover of the 1954 song with Danny singing). “Joy to the World” was written by the wonderful, country music singer-songwriter Hoyt Axton (he also acted and played the Dad in Gremlins) and was sung by Chuck. Good thing each singer got their voices on a number one!!!
Other big hits were “One” the fabulous tune written and also recorded by Harry Nilsson, Laura Nyro’s “Eli’s Coming” and of course “Never Been to Spain” which was also written by Hoyt Axton… Hmmm… Hoyt may be needing a listen of his own! Those are some good songs!
It should be obvious that the band did not write very many of their own tunes, but they had 21 Top 40 hits and three number ones, so as interpreters, that is not bad at all.
UPDATE: Obviously due to space I left out a lot of songs, but I am adding in the fun and spiritually uplifting “Shambala” for my buddy Dave April. This is actually a favorite of mine, too and is a great road song. Hell, it’s just a great song with a great message. It was probably most recently heard on the TV show Lost!
As far as their name… This comes from the notes of the CD set: “Danny Hutton’s then-girlfriend June Fairchild suggested the name after reading a magazine article about indigenous Australians, in which it was explained that on cold nights they would customarily sleep in a hole in the ground whilst embracing a dingo, a native species of wild dog. On colder nights they would sleep with two dogs and if the night was freezing, it was a “three dog night.”
So forget the felines and make it a three dog night!