Three Dog Night headlines the fair tonight
August 18, 2008 · Updated 9:23 PM
1970’s seven-piece supergroup comes to
Kitsap with four original members, What’s Up finds out what “Jeremiah
was a bullfrog” really means.
Kitsap is abuzz with tonight’s county fair concert featuring the one and only Jeremiah-was-a-bullfroggin’, Mama-tellin-me, Shambala-in’ Three Dog Night.
From 1969 through 1974 no other group had more top 10 hits, moved more records or sold more concert tickets than Three Dog Night, the band’s bio boasts. The music lives on today in everything from major motion picture soundtracks to TV commercials, on the radio and online, in CD and vinyl collections around the world.
And the band itself is still alive as well, playing the county fair and casino circuit, with founding members Cory Wells and Danny Hutton (lead vocalists), original keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon and original guitarist Michael Allsup joining Paul Kingery on bass and Pat Bautz on drums.
Entering its fourth decade as a group, not content resting on its legacy, Three Dog Night is still traveling the world for an average 80 dates a year, the Kitsap County Fair being one.
Inline with the community’s excitement, What’s Up was likewise thrilled to have such dignified pop culture legends coming to our own backyard and immediately set to work on getting to know the musical force that is Three Dog Night.
A billion questions zipped through my mind — “Has Three Dog Night truly brought joy to the world?” “What’s the secret behind getting to the top of the charts?” “What’s it like to be one of the best bands on the planet?” and so on. But most of all, I wanted to figure out the meaning behind a few Three Dog phrases that have perplexed me in my relationship with the band throughout my life.
First off, what exactly is a “three dog night?”
That one was easy.
It seems many people have wondered that over the years. The actual origin of the name and who deserves credit for it is debated online. The official Three Dog bio says the term relates to Australian aborigine stories of getting through the coldest of nights by cuddling with their canines. A cold night would be a one-dog-night, colder was two and the coldest nights would be three dog nights.
So, there you go, that’s rock and roll for ya.
But even more so than the meaning behind the band’s moniker, I’ve always wondered what “Jeremiah was a bullfrog” really means. Like many of my generation, before I even knew of the band Three Dog Night I knew the famous opening line to their hit song “Joy to the World.”
So I tracked down vintage Three Dog performances on YouTube and found that the guy who sang that opening line was the long-haired, mustachioed “Three Dog Nightmare” Chuck Negron — he’s the third original singer of the band who is no longer affiliated as anything but a former member and is completely cut from the band’s current biography.
Still waiting on word for an interview with current Three Dog members, I decided to track down Negron to find out just what he meant by calling Jeremiah a bullfrog in the key of D all those years ago.
“You know what it is,” Negron said. “It’s just a silly line.
“When it started it was ‘Jeremiah was a profit,’ but no one really liked that, or the song,” Negron went on, noting that the song’s author Hoyt Axton changed the lyrics and brought it back to the band on a few occasions.
Finally they relented, Negron said, changed “profit” to “bullfrog” and the song became a No. 1 hit in 1971 — possibly the band’s most iconic tune.
Unfortunately, deadlines on our end and life on the road on the other prevented What’s Up from getting in touch with the current Three Dog members for answers to the remainder of my billion questions.
But that’s rock and roll for ya.
Negron said there’s a new/old Three Dog Night album of never-before-heard, re-mastered live tracks from the 1972-73 world tour he just produced, that’ll be coming out on Shout Factory, Aug. 26.