Cory Wells, one of the founding members and lead singers of the band Three Dog Night, recently passed away unexpectedly in Dunkirk, New York. He was 74-years-old. Wells had apparently suffered some type of back pain in September. Three Dog Night had been performing regularly when the pain began to suddenly affect Wells.
“It is with deep sadness and disbelief that I must report the passing of Cory Wells, my beloved band mate for over 45 years,” fellow Three Dog Night vocalist Danny Hutton was quoted in a statement on the band’s website. “Cory was an incredible singer – a great performer, he could sing anything.”
Cory Wells grew up in a tough part of Buffalo, New York, reports All Music. Before Three Dog Night, Wells had been a member of other bands like the Satellites, The Enemys, and the Fidelitones. Wells met Danny Hutton and Chuck Negron in the late 1960s and Three Dog Night was born. Hutton and Wells were reported to have met at a Whisky A Go-Go performance of The Enemys.
While Three Dog Night sold 60 million albums, 20 million singles, and had “nearly 30 hits,” they did not write the songs that they sang.
Names who wrote for Three Dog Night include Harry Nilsson, Elton John, Hoyt Axton, Bernie Taupin, and Laura Nyro, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Even though they didn’t write the songs, the Three Dog Night vocalizations would come to define each of them. More than a dozen Three Dog Night tunes would be instantly recognizable by many Americans, especially by those who lived during the 1970s. Big Three Dog Night hits included “Old Fashioned Love Song,” “Shambala,” “Joy to the World,” and “Mama Told Me (Not To Come).”
Cory Wells left Three Dog Night in 1976 and worked on solo projects. Danny Hutton had already left the band at the point that Wells made his decision to pack his bags.
Wells released a solo album in 1978 entitled Touch Me and began work on a second, Ahead of the Storm, which was reported to “never see daylight.” Wells never achieved the same success on his own as he did with Three Dog Night. The band got back together in the 1980s and performed more recording sessions. Three Dog Night has also toured regularly, right up until before Wells’ death.
The Three Dog Night’s signer’s birth name was Emil Lewandowski. He was born in February 1941 to a single mother. Other rock musicians in the 1970s would change their birth names, according to IMDb, and take on stage names, Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee, two slightly younger, but still contemporary peers of Cory Wells, used aliases.
Wells also served in the United States Air Force immediately upon graduating high school. Owing to a childhood love of a group known as the The Del-Vikings, Wells started an Air Force band of the same style. When his military service was complete, Wells was reported to have spent time near his childhood home in Buffalo, before moving to the west coast, where his music career really took traction.
Wells was said to be an active fisherman, reportedly filming television shows and traveling around the United States to compete in competitions. The singer appeared to have been particularly fond of fishing with his five grandchildren as well as taking part in charity fishing events. Cory Wells is reported to have left behind a wife, Mary, and two daughters, Coryann, and Dawn Marie.
Three Dog Night’s “eclectic taste, combined with their ability to recognize and record hits in a unique, distinctive and appealing style, resulted in Three Dog Night dominating the charts for years,” the band’s website reads.
[Feature Screenshot Courtesy The Unofficial Three Dog Night Channel/YouTube]