Cory Wells, one of the founding members of Three Dog Night, has died at the age of 74.
The band appeared in the MontBleu Theatre at Lake Tahoe the last two summers.
Wells experienced back pain a few weeks before he died suddenly Oct. 20, 2015, at his home in Dunkirk, New York, according to the Associated Press. The cause of his death was unknown, Universal Music Enterprises spokeswoman Sujata Murphy said.
Formed in 1967, Three Dog Night had 21-straight songs reach the pop charts between 1969 and 1975. The rock band was unique in that it featured catchy harmonies with a gospel bent.
A highlight of the Aug. 1 show at Lake Tahoe was a light-hearted rap performance of “Mama Told Me (Not To Come),” which Wells said might have been one of the first hip-hop songs.
Wells’ voice sounded great, and he twice nailed the high notes on the song “One” from the band’s first gold record.
Wells, Danny Hutton and Chuck Negron started the band Redwood in 1964. They grew into Three Dog Night in 1968 with the additions of Mike Allsup, keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon, bassist Joe Schermie and drummer Floyd Sneed.
Greenspoon died of cancer earlier this year.
According to the AP, Wells, a Polish-American with several polka players among his relatives, was born Emil Lewandowski in Buffalo. He joined the Air Force right out of high school and performed in local groups after returning. He moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1960s and while in the house band for the popular club the Whiskey A-Go-Go he met Hutton, a writer and producer at the time with Hanna-Barbera Records.
Three Dog Night’s 21 Consecutive Top 40 Hits
- Mama Told Me (Not To Come)#1
- Joy to The World #1
- Black And White #1
- Shambala #3
- Easy To Be Hard #4
- An Old Fashioned Love Song #4
- The Show Must Go On #4
- One #5
- Never Been To Spain #5
- Liar #7
- Eli’s Coming #10
- The Family Of Man #12
- Celebrate #15
- Out In The Country #15
- Sure As I’m Sittin’ Here #16
- Let Me Serenade You #17
- One Man Band #19
- Pieces Of April #19
- Try A Little Tenderness #29
- Til The World Ends #32
- Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues) #33