One Dog Night was more than enough Sunday for a soldout concert at The Sharon.
Danny Hutton, the lone original singer with the current version of Three Dog Night, was in vintage form throughout the show.
The highlight came at the end, when Hutton and the boys screamed those immortal words that will live forever in rock and roll infamy: “Jeremiah was a bullfrog/was a good friend of mine/I never understood a single word he said/But I helped him drink his wine…Joy to the world.”
When Hutton sang those lyrics, most of the people jammed into The Sharon were standing, dancing and singing.
“Joy to the World,” was only one of Three Dog Night’s jukebox of hits played on this night. The group’s original singers included Hutton, along with Chuck Negron – who tours as a solo act — and the late Cory Wells.
Three Dog Night holds a special niche in music history, sort of post-Beatles and pre-disco. They had over 21 consecutive hits on the charts from around 1969 to 1974.
The group possessed a wide-ranging music catalogue, including rock, pop, country and even classical sounds. “We never wanted to be pigeon-holed into one kind of groove,” Hutton, 80, said. “We did everything and every song we did made the Top-40.”
That was evident early on, as the group opened with four of their radio-friendly hits: “Family of Man,” “Black and White,” “Never Been to Spain” and “Shambala.”
The band was tight and veteran singer/guitarist David Morgan added to the vocal punch. Also, Timothy Hutton –Danny’s son – played bass. The group displayed its eclectic style on a softer number, “Out In the Country.”
Three Dog Night turned a number from the musical “Hair” — “Easy to be Hard” — into a monster hit single. They did justice to the ‘60s’ social conscience sentiment of the song. Then, the band rocked through “Eli’s Coming,” written by Laura Nyro.
Even now, all these years later, Hutton mused that he can’t escape the music Three Dog Night left behind.
“About a month ago, I went to buy some groceries and one of our songs was playing in the store. Then I went to my doctor’s office and heard another one.”
Things were a lot different for the group in the early days. “We did our first album in the back of a Chinese restaurant,” Hutton said. “The locker room where they kept all the food, was a great echo chamber.
The band then delivered its first gold record in 1968, “One,” an introspective rocker written by Harry Nilsson. They followed that with a mellow, nostalgic take “Old Fashioned Love Song,” that included a Dixieland keyboard riff.
Hutton and the band turned “Liar,” into a roaring, freeform musical adventure.
This wasn’t just a night for oldies.
Hutton talked about one of the group’s newer recordings, “Prayer of the Children.” It was a stunning acapella number that lived up to its spiritual title.
“The most important thing in our lives is our children, and we have to do something about all the wars and horrible things that happen to children,” Hutton said.
After that solemn number, it was back to party time with the nasty and risqué “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” with mom’s cautionary advice, “that ain’t the way to have fun –son.”
Hutton seemed moved by the music and the audience. “We’re so glad you remember our songs and keep coming out to support us after all these years.”
English singer Danny McGaw opened the show and put on an impressive performance. McGaw accompanied himself on acoustic guitar and captured the crowd with his engaging personality and folk-rock flavored songs.
Such numbers as “Let’s Go Get Ice Cream,” “Ghost in the Attic” and “Cinderella,” won over the audience. His current album is “On the Outside.” For information go to: dannymcgaw.com
Tony Violanti covers arts and music for Villages-News.com. He was inducted into the Buffalo NY Music Hall of Fame as a music journalist.