Knock Three Times

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"Knock Three Times"
Single by Tony Orlando & Dawn
from the album Candida
B-side "Home"
Released November 1970
Format 7"
Genre Pop
Length 2:57
Label Bell
Writer(s) Irwin Levine
L. Russell Brown
Producer(s) Hank Medress
Dave Appel
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Tony Orlando & Dawn singles chronology
"Knock Three Times"
"What Are You Doing Sunday"

"Knock Three Times" is a popular song credited to Tony Orlando and Dawn. The actual singers were Tony Orlando, Toni Wine, and Linda November, prior to the creation of "Dawn" with Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson.[citation needed] The song was released as a single in November 1970, paired with Orlando's other hit song, "Candida" (also written by Toni Wine). The single hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1971 and eventually sold six million copies, also claiming the number-one spot on the UK Singles Chart.[1][2] The song registered well at Adult Contemporary stations, reaching #2 on Billboard's "Easy Listening" survey.

The composers of this song, L. Russell Brown and Irwin Levine, were thinking of the song Up on the Roof and they wanted to write a song with that kind of lyrical flavor, about tenement living. In the song, the singer has fallen in love with a woman who lives directly below him but has no clue as to her interest, so he asks her to respond by either knocking three times on the ceiling (yes) or banging twice on the pipe (no), and the chorus includes sound effects of the two choices. (However, the song never states her response.)

Tony Orlando was, at the time of the recording, working as a producer/singer for a rival record label. Tony first heard the tune recorded by another artist and immediately knew the song could be a hit produced as he envisioned. Orlando cut the track under the name "Tony Orlando" and had to do the studio sessions on the "down low" to ensure his current record label wasn't aware. The result? Tony's insight into how the song should sound (in his mind), basically as produced, rocketed it to success.[3]

Knock Three Times actually sold more than 100,000 records a day in New York City alone for ten straight days.[citation needed] The song appears in several motion pictures including Now and Then.

The song was covered by Billy "Crash" Craddock in 1971 and became a number three country hit.[4]

Manny de Leon of the Philippines sold out in the market when he made his version under Alpha Records.

Dolly Parton performed the song on a 1976 episode of her variety series Dolly!.

In 1994 the Mexican group Banda Zeta recorded a Spanish versión called "Toca tres veces" for their album Jacarandosa.

Several Larry Craig-themed parodies (all titled "Tap Three Times") were recorded by various artists such as Paul and Storm and The Capitol Steps in 2007 following the senator's notorious sex scandal in which he was arrested for tapping his foot (to allegedly solicit gay sex) in a public airport restroom.[5][6][7][8]


Chart (1971) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[9] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[10] 6
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[11] 2
Canada (RPM 100 Singles)[12] 1
Germany (Official German Charts)[13] 2
Ireland (IRMA)[14] 3
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[15] 3
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[16] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[17] 4
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company)[18] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[19] 1


  1. ^ Warner, Jay (2006-05-31). American singing groups: a history from 1940 to today. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 734. ISBN 9780634099786. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  2. ^ "Dawn featuring Tony Orlando". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 91. 
  5. ^ "Tap Three Times (I)". 
  6. ^ "Tap Three Times (II)". 
  7. ^ "Tap Three Times (III)". 
  8. ^ "Tap Three Times (IV)". 
  9. ^ Danyel Smith, ed. (1971). three times+dawn%22+%22angel%22&hl=fr&sa=X&ei=KjHrUa-4KYnL0QXOtYCIDg&ved=0CEMQ6AEwAzgK "Billboard 15 june 1971" Check |url= value (help). Nielsen Business Media, Inc. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  10. ^ " – Dawn – Knock Three Times" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  11. ^ "knock three times - dawn". VRT (in Dutch). Retrieved 25 July 2013.  Hoogste notering in de top 30 : 1
  12. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 42, No. 22, August 10, 1979". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  13. ^ " – Dawn – Knock Three Times". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  14. ^ "Chart Track: Week 9, 1971". Irish Singles Chart.
  15. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Dawn search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  16. ^ " – Dawn – Knock Three Times". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  17. ^ " – Dawn – Knock Three Times". Swiss Singles Chart.
  18. ^ UK Singles Chart (Retrieved April 10, 2008)
  19. ^ richard-mn0000018513/awards "Dawn awards at Allmusic" Check |url= value (help). Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 1 June 2013. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"My Sweet Lord" / "Isn't It a Pity" by George Harrison
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
January 23, 1971 (three weeks)
Succeeded by
"One Bad Apple" by The Osmonds
Preceded by
"Double Barrel" by Dave and Ansell Collins
UK Singles Chart number-one single
May 15, 1971 (five weeks)
Succeeded by
"Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" by Middle of the Road