Three Dog Night – Your Song

10th May 2023 · 1970, 1970s, Music

Three Dog Night introduced Elton John to the world when they recorded Your Song – six months before it gave him his first hit.

Elton John’s first seven singles disappeared just as soon as they were released. His first album flopped too, so when his second came out early in 1970, few had high hopes of a breakthrough by the former Reg Dwight.

Its producer Gus Dudgeon advised Elton and his lyricist, Bernie Taupin, to treat it as a calling card – a polished demo – hoping some of the songs might be picked up and covered by someone more successful, thus earning them a living.

That’s exactly what happened.

First the opening track, Your Song, was recorded by Three Dog Night, whom Elton was supporting at the time, and appeared on their album It Ain’t Easy. It was released a month before Elton’s own album in March 1970.

It would be six months before Elton’s version, initially the B-side of Take Me To The Pilot, was put out as a single – the eighth of his fledgling career – and became his first hit.

And he would be forever grateful that Three Dog Night, the headline act who gave him a break, advised him that they would not put their version out as a single in case he ever decided to do the same. Especially apt with the song’s line: “You can tell everybody that this is your song.”

A wise and generous decision that gave Elton the springboard for a career that’s now in its seventh decade… while Three Dog Night are largely forgotten today in the UK, remembered chiefly (if at all) for introducing audiences to the songwriting talent of Randy Newman through their cover of Mama Told Me Not To Come.

It’s a different story in America where the group formed by three vocalists (Danny Hutton, Cory Wells and Chuck Negron) enjoyed a remarkable, if not record-breaking run of 21 hit singles in the US from 1969-75.