Hard Labor

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Hard Labor
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 6, 1974
StudioRecord Plant, Sausalito, California
GenrePop, rock
LabelDunhill DSD-50168
ProducerJimmy Ienner
Three Dog Night chronology
Hard Labor
Joy to the World: Their Greatest Hits
Singles from Hard Labor
Alternative cover

Hard Labor is the eleventh album by American rock band Three Dog Night, released in 1974. For this album, the band replaced long-time producer Richard Podolor with Jimmy Ienner, who was known for his production work with the Raspberries.[1]

Cover artwork[edit]

The original album cover, depicting the birth of a record album, was deemed too controversial and was first included with a manila file folder covering most of the cover. This was soon reworked with a huge Band-Aid covering the "birth". Subsequent printings had the Band-Aid printed directly on the cover. The packaging also includes an attached "birth record sheet" for the album. The CD reissue by MCA Records in the 1990s restored the cover to its original look showing the record.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Circus RavesEar Ear[3]

Tom Von Malder of the Daily Herald called Hard Labor the band's finest record up to that point, applauding the production and finding the choice of songs representing the band at "its most competent, most mature level". Malder singled out "The Show Must Go On" and "I'd Be So Happy" as its two best, and "almost perfect", songs.[1] Cash Box called Inner's production "immaculate as always" and wrote that the album was marked by "mood changes both subtle and obvious", making it a "fantastic study in theatrical and musical contrast".[4] Billboard found the track listing a "fine mix of material" and wrote that the instrumental section was "tight and almost perfect".[5]

Circus Raves writer Jon Tiven gave the record "two ears"—indicating an album to "listen to ... 'til the grooves grow old" and wrote that the band "are the best when they're transforming half-arsed songs into good ones, but they run into trouble when the original rendition of the tune was fine in the first place (e.g. 'The Show Must Go On')."[3] Writing retrospectively, Joseph McCombs of AllMusic felt that the album's preference for songs with solo vocals rather than the group's previous use of harmonies led to the band "los[ing] much of their soul and spirit" and saw the album as "show[ing] the growing cracks in the band's armor". Like Malder, McCombs found "I'd Be So Happy" and "The Show Must Go On" the highlights of the album.[2]

Track listing[edit]

Side A
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocal(s)Length
1."Prelude"Public domain*Instrumental1:00
2."Sure As I'm Sittin' Here"John HiattCory Wells4:45
3."Anytime Babe"Larry WeissChuck Negron3:07
4."Put Out the Light"Daniel MooreWells3:06
5."Sitting in Limbo"Gully Bright, Jimmy CliffDanny Hutton5:03
Side B
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalLength
1."I'd Be So Happy"Skip ProkopNegron4:48
2."Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)"Allen ToussaintWells4:48
3."On the Way Back Home"MooreHutton, Negron, Wells4:16
4."The Show Must Go On"David Courtney, Leo SayerNegron4:24
  • While the first track "Prelude" may have been in the Public Domain in 1974, it does have a title and writer: "Entrance of the Gladiators" is a military march composed in 1897 by the Czech composer Julius Fučík. Likewise, the introduction of their cover of Leo Sayer's The Show Must Go On also quotes the Fučík march.



  • Producer: Jimmy Ienner
  • Engineers: Greg Calbi, Roy Cicala, Dennis Ferrante, Jimmy Ienner, Jay Messina, Tom Rabstenek, John Stronach
  • Assistant engineers: Corky Stasiak
  • Remixing: Roy Cicala, Jay Messina
  • Arranger: Three Dog Night
  • Art direction and photography: Ed Caraeff
  • Design: David Larkham


Album charts
Chart (1974) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[6] 61
Japan Oricon 50
US Top 200 20[7]
Canada 16
Singles charts
Year Single Chart Position
1974 "The Show Must Go On" US Pop Singles 4[8]
US Cash Box 1
US Record World 1
US Radio & Records 3
Canada Pop Singles 2
Germany Top 100 12
Netherlands Top 100 6
Belgium Ultratop 23
Japan Oricon Singles Chart 77
"Sure As I'm Sittin' Here" US Pop Singles 16[9]
US Cash Box 18
US Record World 22
Canada Pop Singles 18
"Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)" US Pop Singles 33[10]
US Cash Box 26
US Record World 24
Canada Pop Singles 25


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[11] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b Malder, Tom Von (April 5, 1974). "Three Dog Night maturing". Daily Herald. 25 (117). Arlington Heights, Illinois: Paddock Publications: S2-3 – via the Internet Archive.
  2. ^ a b McCombs, Joseph (n.d.). "Three Dog Night: Hard Labor". AllMusic. Netaktion. Archived from the original on June 4, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Tiven, Jon (August 1974). "Shortcuts". Circus Raves. 1 (6). Canadian APAG House Publications: 60 – via the Internet Archive.
  4. ^ Staff writer (April 6, 1974). "Hard Labor—Three Dog Night—ABC DSD 50168". Cash Box. XXXV (47). The Cash Box Publishing Company: 30 – via the Internet Archive.
  5. ^ Staff writer (April 6, 1974). "Spotlight" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 86, no. 14. Billboard Publications. p. 72 – via the Internet Archive.
  6. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 309. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  7. ^ Three Dog Night, Hard Labor Chart Position Retrieved February 16, 2015
  8. ^ Three Dog Night, "The Show Must Go On" Chart Position Retrieved February 16, 2015
  9. ^ Three Dog Night, "Sure As I'm Sittin' Here" Chart Position Retrieved February 16, 2015
  10. ^ Three Dog Night, "Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)" Chart Position Retrieved February 16, 2015
  11. ^ "American album certifications – Three Dog Night – Hard Labor". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 14, 2019.