However histrionic the songs of Three Dog Night might seem today, they were so of that time for me. The 'three-lead-singer' model that they had deployed was very unusual for rock music, and it produced some intense recordings which fit perfectly with the tenor of the times.
The group's first million-seller, "One," took the world by storm, but my favorite will always be Eli's Coming, which was a great example of what they seemed best at - adapting the music of relatively unknown or otherwise undiscovered composers (in this case the genius Laura Nyro) for commercial success. The Beatles' success as "self-contained recording artists," which is just a fancy way of saying that they wrote their own music, made it harder for artists who were primarily songwriters like Nyro to get their music recorded because every group felt they could and should generate their own material. In fact, there was (and probably still is) a kind of elitism around that which suggests anyone not doing their own material is somehow laughable and unworthy.
Regardless, Three Dog Night rose above it all. In addition to Nyro's haunting composition, Danny Hutton, Cory Wells and Chuck Negron with their powerhouse voices covered the music of Randy Newman, John Hiatt, Leo Sayer and Paul Williams. They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2000. Although this YouTube video is disturbing in so many ways that will become immediately apparent upon viewing, it's worth checking out just to hear the song again and remind yourself why trousers with vertical stripes should forever remain in fashion's graveyard.