Otherwise known as "Guilty Pleasures". We've all got one or two that your friends don't understand (or want to believe) you're really a fan of.

(Three Dog Night, c 1970/Courtesy of Dunhill Records)
(Three Dog Night, c 1970/Courtesy of Dunhill Records)

Poo-poo 'n tah-tah, I've always said one should never apologize for really liking a band that no one else takes seriously. We can all agree on The Stones, Zeppelin, The Beatles, etc., etc. I'm not even talking about that next level of pseudo-cultdom. Maybe you're not a fan of The Kinks, but you can't deny their influence.

No, we're talkin' 'bout records made by the pop-kings of the dreaded Top 40 back in the day, the truly fantastic Three Dog Night

Now if you're thinking I've lost the plot, that's the point. Wait a sec, you say, these guys didn't even write their own material! Well, neither did Linda Ronstadt and that didn't keep her from being The Queen. Worked out nicely for Elvis and Meat Loaf, too.

Three Dog Night were tight, man, tighter-than-tight, which is tough to do when you've got three lead vocalists, plus keyboards, bass, guitar, and drums. And while they may not have written their catalog, they sure had a positively Einstein-level of genius when it came to picking material: "Mama Told Me Not To Come" (Randy Newman), "Sure As I'm Sitting Here" (John Hiatt), "One" (Harry Nilsson), "An Old Fashioned Love Song" (Paul Williams), "Never Been To Spain" (Hoyt Axton), "Liar" (Russ Ballard), "Play Something Sweet" (Allen Toussaint), "Eli's Coming" (Laura Nyro)...you get the idea, and yes, there are lots more....

The fact that Three Dog Night could take such a variety of material sources and turn them into a definitive/signature sound, along with an A+ level of sheer talent and musicianship, is the reason you need to go back and check these guys out with fresh ears.

Recommended listening: "Suitable For Framing" (1969, with "Easy To Be Hard" from the Broadway musical "Hair", and "Celebrate", one of the best sing-alongs ever!) and "Naturally" (1970, which featured "Liar", "One Man Band" and "Joy To The World"). 1982's "The Best Of Three Dog Night" (on MCA) is the must-have greatest hits collection.

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