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Three Dog Night

WCSX Classic Cuts

Three Dog Night: “Mama Told Me Not to Come”

The Hook: One of their singers, Cory Wells, had performed the song with his previous band and decided he really wanted to do it again.

Album: It Ain’t Easy

Year: 1970

Writer: Randy Newman

Stats: Topped the Billboard Hot 100

Background: The Randy Newman song “Mama Told Me Not to Come” had been cut as early as 1967 by Eric Burdon and the Animals as an album track and a B-side, which is how the members of Three Dog Night first heard it. Chuck Negron, who shared vocal duties with Danny Hutton and Cory Wells, recalls how they wound up recording it nearly three years later.

Ex-Three Dog Night singer Chuck Negron on how they came to record Randy Newman’s “Mama Told Me Not to Come.” OC:…great arrangement. :28

“Cory had done ‘Mama Told Me Not to Come’ with his blues band in a different version. I had heard ‘Mama Told Me Not to Come” by Randy Newman and Eric Burdon. It was the flip side of a record and actually had some very clever things in it. But I never thought it was a record and when Cory brought up ’Mama Told Me Not to Come’ I said, ‘I don’t think so,” and Danny went, ‘I don’t think so.’ And Cory really didn’t really push for it, so it didn’t happen. And three albums later he said, ‘Look, I want to do that song,’ so we said ‘OK’ and came up with this great arrangement.”

Three Dog Night - Mama told me not to come 1970

Three Dog Night - Mama told me not to come 1970 Want some whiskey in your water Sugar in your tea What's all these crazy questions they askin' me This is the craziest party there could ever be Don't turn on the lights, 'cause I don't want to see Mama