I was thinking about what to write for today’s music blog post when the song, “Mama Told Me Not To Come” sung by Three Dog Night and written by Randy Newman started playing on the turntable in my mind.
“Mama Told Me Not To Come”, I was surprised to learn was originally written by Randy Newman for Eric Burdon and the Animals in 1966. It was released on the album, Eric Is Here, by Eric Burdon and Animals on MGM in 1967.
From 1969-1974, nobody had more Top 10 hits, moved more records, or sold more concert tickets than Three Dog Night!
When I was first dating my wife Rosemary, Three Dog Night was OUR band. I purchased every vinyl LP they recorded. Our song was “One”, their first Top 5 hit in 1969. “One” was written by Harry Nilsson. I learned from Wikipedia that the reason Harry Nilsson wrote the song after calling someone and getting a busy signal. He stayed on the line listening to the “beep, beep, beep, beep…” tone, writing the song. The busy signal became the opening notes of his version of the song.
I have an interesting personal story to tell you about Randy Newman and Livingston Taylor that happened to me in 1973. I was attending the University of New Haven in West Haven, Ct. in those days. I had made arrangements as a DJ on WNHU-FM to interview Livingston Taylor before the concert. I was asked to conduct the interview with another on-air personality. I warned this person NOT to mention James Taylor during the interview because I had read it infuriated Livingston Taylor to hear those comparisons. That person swore to me he would not do so.
So we get to the locker room and Randy Newman is such a nervous Nellie before the show. He paced that locker room like you wouldn’t believe. He stood off to the side as we interviewed Livingston Taylor. Randy Newman was actually the opening act for Livingston Taylor that night. Don’t you know the asshole I am doing the interview with asks Livingston, “So what’s it like to have a famous brother like James? Livingston looks at him and then me and says, “Sorry, interview is over.” I pushed that stupid idiot DJ off the bench, telling him, “Thanks for screwing this up for the station.” Randy Newman said, “Hey guy, you really blew it for your buddy there.” That was how I met Randy Newman. I recall he played “Mama Told Me Not To Come” that night on a beautiful white Steinway piano.
I mentioned this story years later to Livingston Taylor (who we have seen perform and spoken with many times) and we had a big laugh over that memory.