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
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.”