East Penn Press

Monday, March 19, 2018

Three Dog Night to hit it up at Sherman

Friday, June 9, 2017 by CAMILLE CAPRIGLIONE Special to The Press in Focus

Three Dog Night is celebrating 50 years of sensational music. Since 1967, their distinctive-sounding hits, including “Mama Told Me (Not To Come),” “Joy to the World,” “Shambala,” and “One,” have been woven into the fabric of American television and film soundtracks, and still resonate with generations of fans.

Three Dog Night plays in concert, 8 p.m. June 11, Sherman Theater, 554 Main St., Stroudsburg.

Three Dog Night had 21 consecutive Top 40 hits, seven million-selling singles and 12 Gold albums. Their music embodies nearly every genre and their records continue to sell around the world. The band recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra in honor of its 35th anniversary, adding orchestral arrangements to their repertoire.

In a phone interview, Danny Hutton, lead vocalist and a Three Dog Night co-founder, says that his in-laws hail from Jim Thorpe, “the Switzerland of the East.”

Hutton was born in Ireland, raised in Boston until age 12, and now resides in Laurel Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles, “where all the hippies used to live.” Hutton bought his home from fellow rocker Alice Cooper in 1977.

When asked who his earliest inspirations were, Hutton says, “I’d have to say, all my relatives.” At traditional Irish gatherings, family members would perform by either reciting poetry, singing, playing an instrument or dancing, “One uncle played nine instruments. He was fabulous.

“I go all the way back to before there was rock and roll, to the 1940’s. I remember big bands.”

Hutton credits Bill Haley and his Comets with the birth of rock and roll, “‘Rock Around the Clock’ caused riots. It was in a movie called ‘Blackboard Jungle’ [1955]. It was the first time that kids ever sat in a place and heard rock and roll that loud.”

Three Dog Night performs 70 dates a year and enjoys a return to its roots, “We’re going to do something very different that we haven’t done in years, and that is to play all our hits. Over the years fans would get bored and want us to change it up. But last year I said, ‘We have 21 hits in a row, and hold a record in Billboard magazine. I think people would like to hear those.’”

Three Dog Night is said to be named after a practice of indigenous Australians, whereby on a cold night, they would sleep with dogs to stay warm. A very cold night was called a “three-dog night.”

In 2009, Three Dog Night added new songs to its catalogue by releasing its first double-A sided single in 25 years. “Heart of Blues” and the acapella ballad, “Prayer of the Children,” gave fans a dose of the band’s musical depth and harmony.

“There are no rookies in Three Dog Night,” says Hutton. “I’m so proud of the band. It’s marvelous.

“My objective is, I want people to come to the show and just get lost. No political stuff. We’re a positive kind of band, and when we’re done I want people to turn around and say, ’It’s over already? I’d forgotten how many hits they had. They were so good.’ And to leave with a big smile.

“We will throw in a surprise. We get a standing ovation every time we do it.”

Of the enduring nature of their Three Dog Night’s recordings, Hutton credits their timelessness:

“Our songs don’t have expiration dates on them. There’s nothing wrong if [a performer] gets political, but it gets very dated. We have melodic songs that have big choruses. The songs are all about emotions, or having fun, or a party, which never gets dated.

“We’re a harmony group. Everybody in the band is a lead singer, so we have six people who do harmonies and it’s the real deal. There’s nobody singing background.”

Hutton is pleased that no one genre can define the band, “We’re all over the map, and I love that.”

Three Dog Night is involved with several charities. Hutton’s wife, Laurie, is president of HARK (Healing Arts Reaching Kids) in Los Angeles, which encourages young patients to create art. The organization provides supplies and musical instruments to children in their hospital rooms.

As for the future, Hutton is optimistic, and hopes to tour in Japan and England.

“I love when younger people come [to our show] and say ’Those old men are funky!’”

Tickets: Sherman Theater box office, 524 Main St., Stroudsburg; shermantheater.com; 570-420-2808