Three Dog Night brings enthusiasm for performing live to the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Tuesday
Special to the Daily
Between 1969 and 1974, Three Dog Night released the most top 10 hits and sold the most records and concert tickets of any other band. Tuesday, they play their greatest hits, like “Mama Told Me (Not To Come),” “Joy to the World,” “Black and White” and “Shambala” at the Vilar Performing Arts Center.
Founder and lead vocalist Danny Hutton credits the band’s hits to their universality.
“We didn’t want to put a shelf life on it,” he said. “All of our songs are about emotion, which doesn’t get old, or having fun and partying — or heartbreak.”
He always focused on choruses and harmonies that hooked listeners, and he wasn’t afraid to cross genres. Three Dog Night released everything from easy listening and pop to rock, rhythm and blues, country and classical. The latter gave fans a chance to hear the band’s hits, as well as several new songs, backed by the London Symphony Orchestra. The band recorded it at Abbey Road studios and released the album to celebrate its 35th anniversary.
Now in its fifth decade, the Grammy nominated band has continued to sell more than a million copies of its songs just in the last 10 years. In addition to “timeless” tunes, Hutton says the band’s live shows continue to attract both old and new fans.
“You gotta kick butt when you hit the stage — rock and be funky and also be gentle and melodic,” he said. “My sons ask, ‘What’s the key to a long career?’ I always tell them, ‘Being good live, because it can’t be duplicated.’ Even if you’re listening to a live tape, it’s not the same; there’s no danger anymore.”
When the band formed in 1968, no one was a rookie; every musician was already a leader of his own group. Original member Cory Wells continued to tour with the band until his death at age 74, in 2015. Cofounder Chuck Negron still performs about 70 shows a year — about the same number as Three Dog Night — with his own band.
The current lineup of Three Dog Night consists of: Hutton, guitarist Michael Allsup (who joined the band in late 1968), bassist and vocalist Paul Kingery, drummer Pat Bautz, vocalist David Morgan and keyboardist Howard Lavarea.
Three Dog Night has reached chart and sales records that not many bands have been able to pull off: 21 consecutive top 40 hits, 7 million singles and 12 straight RIAA Certified Gold albums worldwide.
Around 1977, the band hit a lull. In 1979, Hutton became the manager for “Fear,” a punk band that appeared on (and got permanently banned from) “Saturday Night Live.” In 1986, Three Dog Night began touring again and has since performed more than 2,500 shows — including two Super Bowls. For Hutton, touring never gets old.
“Every night, you’re in a different city. I love it,” he said. “I think it’s good for your brain to constantly experience new things — and I get paid to do it. How can I get tired when I start a song and everybody goes nuts?”
The musicians just finished their first album featuring completely new songs in 41 years. They worked with their original producer and engineer on the album, “The Road Ahead,” which is set to release “soon,” Hutton said.
“It’s a more modern version of our songs,” Hutton said. “It still has the band vibe, but it’s more alternative as far as sequencing. It still has a lot of vocals with intricate harmonies but it’s more funky and rhythmic.”
Nevertheless, Hutton said the band will perform its hits — with maybe one new song or so — Tuesday night, because when it does, “everybody (in the audience) has a big smile on their face.”
If you go …
What: Three Dog Night
When: Tuesday, March 3, 7 p.m.
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek
More information: Visit http://www.vilarpac.org or call 970-845-8497.
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