Legendary band Three Dog Night opens Clark State season

One of the most successful rock bands of the late 1960s and early ‘70s will bring joy to Springfield to open the Clark State Performing Arts Center’s 21st season.

Three Dog Night will perform selections from its 21 Billboard top 40 hits during a one-night show on Friday, Sept. 19 at the Clark State Performing Arts Center.

It’s part of Clark State’s Community Arts Series and appropriate for all audiences.

Three Dog Night took a different approach when it formed in 1968, fronting three lead singers. Armed with a strong repertoire of tunes written by some of the era’s top songwriters, Three Dog Night found immediate chart success that included 12 gold records and became one of the top concert draws of the day.

Co-lead singer and founder Danny Hutton, who will play in Springfield alongside co-lead singer and fellow founding member Cory Wells, original keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon and guitarist Michael Allsup, have been there from the beginning. Hutton said he still gets thrilled performing.

“Some of the guys (in the band) wanted to take September off, but I’m chomping at the bit to get back out there,” he said. “We’re lucky to have a real mix of people in our audience, from people our age to grandkids.”

While the band had immense success, Hutton said early on they confounded critics, claiming they had no identity like, say, The Doors. The band’s unusual name comes from an indigenous Australian custom of sleeping outside with the warmth of three dingo dogs on freezing nights.

“We loved all sorts of music and our songs made all of the charts – rock, easy listening, rhythm and blues, country – just about everything but classical,” Hutton said. “We didn’t want to get into a bag. We wanted good choruses, good harmonies and worked really hard on the arrangements.”

Hutton, Wells and former founding member and singer Chuck Negron, spent years in other bands and on the production side, including learning from a Beach Boys legend.

“I like to say I went to grad school with Brian Wilson,” said Hutton. “He helped me learn how good songs should sound.”

This resulted in finding songs like the chart-toppers “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” “Black and White” and “Joy to the World,” along with seven other top 10 hits.

Several tunes have been featured in numerous films and television shows, making them perfect for sing-alongs during their shows.

“”We’ve got a pretty deep bench with our song, songs people will remember and something for everybody’s taste,” Hutton said. “We may even have a surprise in there.”

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