Joy to the World (Three Dog Night song)
|"Joy to the World"|
1971 French release
|Single by Three Dog Night|
|from the album Naturally|
|B-side||"I Can Hear You Calling"|
|Format||7" 45 RPM|
|Recorded||1970 at American Recording Co.|
|Three Dog Night singles chronology|
"Joy to the World" is a song written by Hoyt Axton, and made famous by the band Three Dog Night. The song is also popularly known by its opening words, "Jeremiah was a bullfrog". Three Dog Night originally released the song on their fourth studio album, Naturally in November 1970 (see 1970 in music) and subsequently released an edited version of the song as a single in February 1971 (see 1971 in music).
In a 1994 case, David P. Jackson filed suit claiming co-authorship of the song and alleging that Axton fraudulently claimed sole authorship. In the suit Jackson claimed that Axton regularly credited him with co-authorship.
The song, which has been described by members of Three Dog Night as a "kid's song" and a "silly song", topped the main singles charts in North America, was certified gold by the RIAA, and has since been covered by multiple artists.
The song is featured prominently in the film The Big Chill. It is sung by a child character at the beginning and the Three Dog Night recording is played over the end credits.
Background and recording
Some of the words are nonsensical. Axton wanted to persuade his record producers to record a new melody he had written and the producers asked him to sing any words to the tune. A member of Three Dog Night said that the original lyrics to the song were "Jeremiah was a prophet" but "no one liked that".
When Hoyt Axton performed the song to the group, two of the three main vocalists – Danny Hutton and Cory Wells – rejected the song, but Chuck Negron felt that the band needed a "silly song" to help bring the band back together as a working unit. Negron also felt that the song "wasn't even close to our best record, but it might have been one of our most honest."
The song was recorded by Three Dog Night at American Recording Company, produced by Richard Podolor, and engineered by Bill Cooper. Unlike most Three Dog Night songs recorded at that point, instead of having just the three main vocalists singing harmony, the song was recorded with all seven members of the band singing.
When the song hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1971, Axton and his mother, Mae Axton, became the first mother and son to each have written a number one pop single in the rock era. Mae Axton co-wrote "Heartbreak Hotel", which was the first number one hit for Elvis Presley.
Charts and awards
|Canadian Top Singles||1|
|Germany (Media Control AG)||17|
|Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)||25|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||24|
|US Billboard Hot 100||1|
|Year-End Chart (1971)||Peak
|Canadian Top Singles||1|
The single had been out less than two months, when on April 9, 1971 "Joy to the World" was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, for shipments of over 1,000,000 units across the United States. The record was also given a Gold Leaf award by RPM magazine for sales of over a million units. The record won the award for the Best Selling Hit Single Record by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers in March 1972. It was also ranked by Billboard magazine as the year-end #1 pop single of 1971.
- The fact this song shares its title with the Christmas carol "Joy to the World" has led to numerous artists combining the two songs in various ways. In the 1990s, Chuck Negron recorded the carol and playfully included a few lyrics from the Three Dog Night/Hoyt Axton song — coming to a full stop in mid-song for the line "Jeremiah was a bullfrog." The refrain of Axton's song was also included in Mariah Carey's recording of the carol for her 1994 Merry Christmas album.
- The Supremes and Four Tops recorded a duet version of the song in 1971, yet it remained unreleased until 2009.
- Little Richard covered the song on 1971's The King of Rock and Roll
- Nardcore punk band, Ten Foot Pole covered the song for their debut album, Swill.
- Eurodance crew Orlando covered the song for the 2002 Dancemania compilation Speed 10.
- Straight No Chaser, a US a cappella group, covered the song for their 2010 album "With a Twist," along with other covers.
- Disco band Eruption covered it in their 1983 album Our Way.
- David Alan Grier sang the song for a sketch in Amazon Women on the Moon.
- Country singer Lynn Anderson cut the song for her You're my' Man album in 1972
"Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" by The Temptations
|Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
April 17, 1971 (six weeks)
"Brown Sugar" by The Rolling Stones
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- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2, illustrated ed.). Barrie & Jenkins. ISBN 0-214-20480-4.