Three Dog Night’s Cory Wells dies at 74

Cory Wells, one of the lead singers of Three Dog Night, died unexpectedly Tuesday at his Dunkirk, N.Y. home, according to a release on the band’s Web site.

“It is with deep sadness and disbelief that I must report the passing of Cory Wells, my beloved band mate for over 45 years,” announced Danny Hutton, the band’s other lead singer. “Cory was an incredible singer – a great performer, he could sing anything.”

Wells, a co-founder of Three Dog Night, performed with the band up until September of this year when he developed a problem with severe back pain. One of the shows cancelled as he received treatment was an Oct. 2 show at the Admiral Theatre, which was later reschedu10556435_10202819441836410_2812609378941138398_nled for next March 25. Word from Three Dog Night on the status of upcoming shows is forthcoming.

“Cory was like a brother in so many ways,“ Hutton said. “We had been together since 1965 and I am in shock at this sudden loss.”

According to the release, “Wells, whose band The Enemys was the house band at Whisky A Go-Go, met Hutton, a solo artist and a writer/producer at Hanna Barbera Records, when they had both been invited to tour with Sonny and Cher. After that tour, Hutton contacted Wells about forming a group with three lead singers. Three Dog Night went on to have 21 consecutive Top 40 hits. The band, fronted by Wells, Hutton and , recorded the music of the best (and mostly undiscovered) songwriters of their time including Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson, Elton John, Laura Nyro, Paul Williams and Hoyt Axton among many others. The group’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.

“Wells balanced his professional life with family and leisure pursuits.   An avid fisherman, Wells appeared on national TV, filming several episodes on “The American Sportman” in New Zealand and the Amazon.   He also participated in charity fishing tournaments around the country and took time whenever he could to teach his grandchildren to fish and enjoy the natural beauty of the Great Lakes and Western New York.  Wells is survived by Mary, his wife of 50 years, two daughters and five grandchildren.”

Wells’ loss is the second blow in less than a year to Three Dog Night. Founding keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon died of cancer last March.

Three Dog Night played at the Admiral to a sold-out house in June, 2013. The Oct. 2 date also was sold out. The band also played a Kitsap date in 2008, headlining the Kitsap County Fair and Stampede.

Information on the status of the March 25 show at the Admiral will be available at 360-373-6743 and admiraltheatre.org.

— MM

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About michael c. moore

Michael C. Moore covers arts and entertainment for the Kitsap Sun. He's been a newspaper reporter and editor for more than 33 years, at the Sun since 2001 and in his current post — covering music, art, theater, film and other A&E fare, since 2006. He's a 1978 graduate of Washington State University, and lives in East Bremerton with his daughter, Kate.

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