Sunday, August 18, 2013

B4 3 Dog Nite: Black and White

I decided to extend our second week special on songs that were eventually recorded and made hits by Three Dog Night and feature one more song. “Black and White” was probably the oldest song that Three Dog Night tackled as the song was composed in 1954 by David I. Arkin and Earl Robinson. The song was written to commemorate the landmark Supreme Court decision in the anti-school segregation suit of Brown v. Board of Education.

The first recording of the song came two years later in 1956 by Pete Seeger and was tackled by Sammy Davis, Jr. in 1957. While there were two early U.S. recording s of the song in the 1950s, the direct influence for Three Dog Night’s recording of the song came from a U.K. reggae band Greyhound. Greyhound and a Jamaican reggae group, The Maytones, simultaneously released the song in 1971.

Greyhound’s version charted at #6 in the UK, but it was not released in the U.S. From what I can discern, The Maytones’ version was released after Greyhound’s first stab at a reggae style recording of the song. Two years later, Three Dog Night recorded the song for their “Seven Separate Fools” album. Sung by Danny Hutton, the song was a double number one record for the band – on the Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary charts. As for now, here’s Greyhound’s version of the tune.

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