We were lucky to have the chance to catch up with Three Dog Night’s long time producing and engineering team, Richard Podolor (producer) and Bill Cooper (engineer).
Below, they share a few thoughts on why the band has been able to maintain such a high level of relevance, and how their orchestrations for symphony came about.
It’s amazing that Three Dog Night songs (and records) from over 40 years ago just don’t sound dated. For this tour, we all made sure that we didn’t do 16 year old “Baby I Love You So” songs that would sound a little silly on stage 40 years later. Instead, we picked songs like “One”, “Easy To Be Hard”, “Shambabla”, “Black And White”, “Family Of Man”, “Out In The Country”, “Mama Told Me Not To Come”, “Never Been To Spain”, “Eli’s Coming”… and on and on. All of those songs had hooks and universal feelings that had nothing to do with age. An extreme example of this is “Joy To The World”… kids have always loved “Jeremiah” the bullfrog and everyone has always loved “Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea, Joy to you and me”.
From the start, Three Dog Night was like a championship sports team… everything clicked! Great songs, great singers, great creative musicians, a great record making machine… and for some reason their records always came to life and jumped out of the speakers. When making records, that is always the hardest thing of all to do – there is no manual describing the process. But when all the elements come together and work, the result is really greater than the sum of the parts. It was no accident that the magic happened again and again – for over five years they were the biggest group in America. They were the first group successful enough to do a summer tour playing in sports stadiums.
About ten years ago, to have something new for their fans at concerts, we came in the studio and re-recorded almost all of Three Dog Night’s hits. The results were as good (if not better) than the original records were. Then the band ran into Larry Baird (who arranged the Moody Blue’s symphony songs) and asked him to do orchestral arrangements for the new recordings. His music keeps all the original hooks and melodies and expands the songs even more. At this point, some Three Dog Night songs have become a part of “Americana”… everyone knows “Jeremiah”, and “Mama”, and “One”. There is nobody better on stage than Three Dog Night… and through our collective record-making experience we have all been allowed to be and do “Our Best”.