There wasn't a lot of joy in Three Dog Night's world during 2015.
The long-lived group lost two founding members during the year, keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon on March 11 and singer Corey Wells on Oct. 21. That's left vocalist Danny Hutton and guitarist Michael Allsup as the last men standing, and Hutton says there was no question about continuing in the wake of those losses.
"It's horrible in one sense, and in a crazy way there's a freedom to it now that I like," Hutton, 73, says by phone from his home in Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon, which he bought in 1977 from Detroit native Alice Cooper. "There's no committee anymore. There's no votes. I started the band, and before that I was a studio rat and did stuff myself and there was no voting or 'Everybody gets a chance to do this or that.'
"So there's a certain freedom now in what we're doing. It's wonderful."
Hutton says that new singer David Morgan, who was a longtime cohort of Wells', has fit in well. "He's a wonderful person and singer," Hutton says. "He's one of those guys who, when he sings, I'm so proud to be standing next to him. He starts singing and It's like, 'Check this out. This is gonna blow your mind!' Getting him was, like, a miracle."
The change comes at an auspicious time for Three Dog Night as well. This year marks the 45th anniversary of "Joy to the World," arguably the group's biggest hit -- and a song Hutton says he never expected to amount to much when Three Dog Night, which had a Billboard record 21 straight Top 40 hits between 1969-75, recorded it.
"We just thought that was a silly song," Hutton says. "We were just about done with our album ('Harmony') and went over to see Hoyt Axton, who wrote the song, and here's this big, gigantic guy with a baritone voice singing 'Jeremiah was a bullfrog...' And I thought, 'What the hell?!' But we said, 'Alright, we'll give it a shot.'
"We put out the album and we released two other singles first and were gonna go on to the next album. But all the DJs started phoning and saying, 'Hey, we're getting all sorts of requests for this song.' So it came out and went to No. 1. I love doing the song because of people's reaction; they just love it. But personally it was not a song I would have picked."
Three Dog Night
8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22.
Andiamo Celebrity Showroom, 7096 E. Fourteen Mile Road, Warren.
Tickets are $25-$79. Tickets for the original Oct. 23 date will be honored.
Call 586-268-0200 or visit andiamoitalia.com.
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