Three Dog Night was formed in 1967, and other than a short hiatus between 1976 to 1981, they have continued to perform right up to the present day. I am, therefore, guessing that there will be quite a few of you that were not even born during the 60s. And, even more of you will not have heard the name.
Despite this, it is more than possible that you will know some of their songs. If you don’t, then even better because you are in for a treat.
I’ve selected what I think are the top 10 Three Dog Night songs. I hope you enjoy them, and it gives you the impetus to listen to some more of this relatively unknown but successful band. Let’s get to it and take a look at some of the best Three Dog Nights songs, starting with…
Top 50 Three Dog Night Songs
Mama Told Me (Not to Come)
What better way to start than with the band’s first #1 in the US? Undoubtedly, one of the most well-known Three Dog Night songs. Even if the name of the band means nothing to you, I can almost guarantee that you will have heard the chorus line, “Mama told me not to come,” a thousand times on the radio over the years.
This was released in 1970 as the lead single of the album, It Ain’t Easy, which charted and sold relatively well. It got to #8 on the US Billboard Album charts and #5 in Canada, which was the band’s highest-ever position for an album north of the border.
“Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” is a super catchy song that was sung by their original vocalist Cory Wells. It’s the story of a somewhat conformist individual that gets caught up in a night of drinking, drug taking, and debauchery. He mused, “Mama told me not to come.” If that was a good or a bad thing in his mind, we will never know.
Joy of the World
Released in 1971, this was the second single from their fourth album, Naturally. “Joy of the World” was a #1 hit on the US Billboard charts and also in Canada. It was one of the biggest Three Dog Night songs. And it remains another of their best-known pieces of music.
It is a Soft Rock song that feels very much of its age. Coming so early in the 70s, it still has a lot of late-60s influence from bands like Chicago and America. Nevertheless, it has aged well and still gets my foot tapping and raises a smile when I hear it.
The song has a beautiful meaning in that it promotes the uniting of all people and all things in a spirit of happiness. It is a message that still resonates strongly, but one which we seem as far away as ever from achieving.
Black and White
This was the band’s third and final #1 hit single on the US Billboard charts. It also hit the top spot in New Zealand and Canada. “Black and White” was the lead single for the album, Seven Separate Fools, which was their sixth studio album. It ended up achieving the band’s highest chart position, at #6, on the US Billboard Album charts.
The song is one that you will probably recognize. But, in fact, is a cover song. It was first written in 1954 by Earl Robinson and David I. Arkin. The song is about a court ruling in the 50s that brought racial segregation to an end in schools. A shameful period in American history that is thankfully behind us.
Another of Three Dog Night’s covers. This time, the song is a cover of the famous original written and initially recorded by Neilson in 1968. The band was straight on it and released their own version in the same year as the third single off their best-selling, platinum debut album, the self-titled, Three Dog Night.
The single made it to #5 on the US Billboard charts and to #39 in the UK. Additionally, it sold in large numbers and won them a gold disc in the US.
There was no deep meaning to “One.” It was written by Neilson after he failed to get through to the number he was calling. He consequently wrote the song, and we got the now famous busy signal that marks the start of the track.
“Shambala” was released as the first single from their 1973 album, Cyan. The single was one of their biggest hits and made it to #3 on the Billboard charts in the US. It also got to #1 in New Zealand and #4 in Canada. The album also charted well in Canada, at #8. Additionally, it got to #28 in the US and went Gold in the process.
The song had more of a Rock feel that a lot of their previous recordings. Listening to it again, I can’t help thinking of Tom Petty and, more specifically, his latter association with The Traveling Wilburys. Some of the harmonies, nicely done, also remind me of the beautiful tones of Jeff Lynne from ELO. Now that is mighty praise.
Out in the Country
It was released in 1970 and was the second single to be taken off the album; It Ain’t Easy. “Out in the Country” made it to #15 on the US Billboard charts and got to #9 in Canada.
The song sounds superb and is all the better for the harmonies of three different singers. It has a great vibe which was picked up on by R.E.M., who did a brilliant cover in 2003. If you ever need a testament to just how good this band was and still is, this is it.
The song is about how to relieve all your stresses and anxieties by finding that happy place in nature. It reflects that by visualizing a more relaxing place in the country where you can put all your worries behind you and get things into perspective. A sentiment that is very hard to argue against.
This was the band’s debut single, released back in 1968 off the album, Three Dog Night. It made it to #116 on the US Billboard charts. And, while not setting the world on fire, I’m sure just about any band would take it for their first single release.
“Nobody” has some fantastic harmonies utilizing the very different vocal qualities of Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron, and Cory Wells. It also features a wonderful groove with the inclusion of some great keyboard and guitar work.
Although the song has a distinct 60s feel, it has aged well and still feels fun and exciting to listen to almost six decades later. Easily one of the Top 10 Three Dog Night Songs.
This was written and recorded in 1968 but was not released until 1969. It became the band’s fourth Top 10 single in the US, reaching #10. Additionally, it was their third Canadian Top 10, this time peaking at #8.
“Eli’s Coming” was released as their second single from the album, Suitable for Framing. This got to #16 in the US and #15 in Canada. Plus, it earned them a gold disc in America.
The song was a vocal masterpiece and showed the world how good the band was in not only lead vocals but harmonies. This has the vocals featured right up front in the mix and sounds all the better for it.
An Old Fashioned Love Song
“An Old Fashioned Love Song” was released in 1971 and taken as the lead song from their album, Harmony. The single did well and got to #4 in the US. It also went to #2 in Canada, #4 in New Zealand, and #16 in the UK. Additionally, it earned them a gold disc back in the US.
The song was written by the amazing songwriter Paul Willimas, and the track came to them by a fortuitous set of circumstances. Originally, the song was written by Williams for The Carpenters. However, at the time, they were on their run of form with some of their own songs.
Despite Williams having previously penned great hits for them, like, “We’ve Only Just Begun,” Richard Carpenter rejected “An Old Fashioned Love Song.” It was more to do with timing than anything else. But, The Carpenters’ loss ended up being very much Three Dog Night’s gain.
Ending with this 1971 song is very much a case of last but not least. It was released in 1972 as the final single from their album, Naturally. It sold strongly and made it to #7 on the US Billboard charts as well as to #4 in Canada.
“Liar” has a great chorus line and harmony. It has a wonderful funky beat and feels kind of psychedelic in places. It is all underscored with a heavier, more Rock-focused arrangement than some of their other music. Not surprising, especially when you consider that it was written by Russ Ballard of ‘Argent’ fame.
It is a great song and a great way to wrap up Three Dog Night’s best songs of all time.
Joy to the World by Three Dog Night
Never Been to Spain by Three Dog Night
Celebrate by Three Dog Night
Eli’s Coming by Three Dog Night
Old Fashioned Love Song by Three Dog Night
Heaven is in Your Mind by Three Dog Night
The Family of Man by Three Dog Night
Good Time Living by Three Dog Night
Freedom for the Stallion by Three Dog Night
Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues) by Three Dog Night
Try a Little Tenderness by Three Dog Night
Let Me Serenade You by Three Dog Night
Sure As I’m Sitting Here by Three Dog Night
The Show Must Go On by Three Dog Night
Midnight Runaway by Three Dog Night
The Way We Were by Three Dog Night
Your Song by Three Dog Night
Til the World Ends by Three Dog Night
Drive On, Ride On by Three Dog Night
Lay Me Down Easy by Three Dog Night
Easy Evil by Three Dog Night
Rock and Roll Widow by Three Dog Night
I’d Be So Happy by Three Dog Night
I Can Hear You Calling by Three Dog Night
Rock & Roll Widow by Three Dog Night
Feeling Alright by Three Dog Night
Hang on Sloopy by Three Dog Night
It Ain’t Easy by Three Dog Night
I Can’t Get Enough of It by Three Dog Night
Woman in Love by Three Dog Night
I’m Coming Home by Three Dog Night
On the Way Back Home by Three Dog Night
Pieces of April by Three Dog Night
Soul Kitchen by Three Dog Night
Time to Get Alone by Three Dog Night
Chest Fever by Three Dog Night
It’s a Jungle Out There by Three Dog Night
Good Feeling 1957 by Three Dog Night
I’ll Be Creeping by Three Dog Night
Storybook Feeling by Three Dog Night
Need More Great Music From the 1970s?
Well, then you should check out our thoughts on the Best 70s Rock Songs, the Best 70s Songs, the Best 70s Rock Bands, the Most Famous Singers Of The 1970s, and the Most Famous Black Singers Of The 1970s for more incredible song selections.
Also, you’ll need to hear them. So, take a look at our informative reviews of the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best True Wireless Earbuds, the Best iPhone Earbuds, and the Best Cheap Earbuds Under $100 you can buy in 2023.
Top 10 Three Dog Night Songs – Final Thoughts
That was a lot of fun. I enjoyed taking a look back at some of these classic Three Dog Night songs from the 60s and 70s. Quite a few I haven’t listened to for a while. But, as soon as I heard them, it was instantly like being reunited with a group of old friends.
I hope you have enjoyed it too, and I hope you liked my choices for Three Dog Night’s Top 10 songs. If you would have found room for something different, let me know in the comments below. Also, if you have any interesting information or anecdotes about the band, I would love to hear them.
Until next time, happy listening.