Cory Wells: Three Dog Night Vocalist dies suddenly, aged 74
Cory Wells: Three Dog Night Vocalist dies suddenly, aged 74

Cory Wells: ‘Three Dog Night’ Vocalist dies suddenly, aged 74

Cory Wells, a founding member of the popular 1970s band Three Dog Night and lead singer on such hits as “Never Been to Spain” and “Mama Told Me (Not to Come),” has died at age 74.

Cory Wells passed away in Dunkirk, New York on Tuesday, a few weeks after experiencing acute back pain, bandmate Danny Hutton said.

Hutton paid tribute to the star, saying: “Cory was an incredible singer – a greater performer, he could sing anything.”

The cause of Wells’ death is unknown, according to a spokesman for record label Universal Music Enterprises.

Vocalists Wells, Hutton and Chuck Negron formed Three Dog Night in 1967, lifting the name from Australian slang for cold weather.

They added a backing band as they became a top group over the following decade – specialising in covers of songs by Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson and Paul Williams.

Dubbed the “kings of oversing” by legendary critic Robert Christgau, they patented a gospel-influenced style on hits such as One, Eli’s Coming and chart-topper Joy to the World.

Band members took turns on lead vocals, with Wells’ singing featured on Shambala, Never Been to Spain and the number one hit Mama Told Me (Not to Come).

Cory Wells was born Emil Lewandowski in Buffalo, New York in 1942 and joined the Air Force after leaving high school.

He moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1960s and met Hutton while in the house band for the popular club the Whiskey A-Go-Go.

His death comes seven months after longtime keyboard player Jimmy Greenspoon died of cancer.

Cory Wells is survived by his wife, two daughters and five grandchildren.


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