Three Dog Night – Shambala

I first heard this song in the seventies and liked it. I ordered Three Dog Night’s Greatest hits off of television. They were very successful in the late sixties and seventies…songs like  Joy To The World, Family of Man, Black and White, The Show Must Go On, etc… They racked up 11 top ten hits and 3 number 1’s… and 21 songs in the Billboard 100 altogether.

They were unusual because they had not one, not two…but three lead singers.

I always wondered what “Shambala” meant…now I know. The word ‘Shambala’ has a spiritual meaning in the Buddhist religion, and some Tibetan Buddhists believe that it is a mythical kingdom or a mystical land hidden somewhere in the Himalaya mountains…

The song’s writer, Daniel Moore, told this story. I remember getting excited about the sound of the word, ‘Shambala.’ Before I wrote the song, I called a friend, Eddie Zip, who I’d been working with and telling him, ‘That word Shambala has a magic sound to it, you ought to put together a band and call it Shambala, you couldn’t lose.’ We had just recorded one of his songs titled ‘Don’t Make God’s Children Cry.’ We were getting – ELEVATED!

I wrote the words and melody, a capella, driving on the Ventura Freeway in about 10 minutes. I got home, picked up my Martin guitar and had the music finished in 5 minutes; a pretty good 15 minutes.

The song peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100 and #4 in Canada in 1973.

This is the commercial I ordered it from back in 1970s.

From Songfacts.

This was written by the songwriter Daniel Moore, and first released by the Texas songwriter B.W. Stevenson. Moore told Songfacts: “Regarding the song, ‘Shambala,’ it was written entirely by myself, Daniel Moore, in the fall of 1972. It was recorded by Three Dog Night in December of 1972. It was recorded by B.W. Stevenson in Late February, 1973 and released two weeks before the Three Dog Night version was released. During those two weeks B.W.’s version sold 125,000 single 45s. Then Three Dog Night released their version and sold 1,250,000 single 45s.”

Later in 1973, with the Three Dog Night version of “Shambala” climbing the charts, Stevenson released a carbon copy single called “My Maria” (credited to Stevenson and Moore), which peaked at #9 US, two months after “Shambala” hit #3.

 ‘In 1972 my brother, Matthew, called me and informed me that he had received a letter from Dorothy Beg at Lake Pleasant, Massachusetts that told him where and who he had been in his past lives. He had sent a letter to her requesting this information. After recounting several past lives the letter ended with, ‘My messenger tells me to tell you, ‘Let your light shine in the halls of Shambala.” In the phone conversation at that point Matthew said, ‘Shambala, what the hell is that?’

So I did some research and found dozens of references to the word Shambala, the 5000-year-old word originating from Sanskrit. Some were weird, some were goofy but the one I liked was found in Alice Bailey’s Treatise On White Magic. It basically said that there was a gigantic cavern under the Gobi Desert that has a replica of every evolving human being. And when that replica begins to light up or glow (meaning you are cleaning up your act and becoming more spiritual minded or raising your consciousness to a higher level), there is point where your replica gets bright enough to warrant a spiritual teacher being sent to you.

The recording session of my demo in 1972 was with Dean Parks and Jim Varley. Dean (playing bass) was sitting with me (I was engineering, playing the acoustic guitar and singing live) in the control room. We were wearing earphones with the speakers turned off, and 50 feet away at the other end of the studio on the other side of the glass with earphones, was Jim Varley playing drums. Twenty-eight years later I had Greg Beck overdub an electric guitar and that is what you hear on this recording. That’s the only time Dean Parks and Greg Beck have played together, according to Greg.

Three Dog Night heard the song through a publisher, Lindy Blaskey, who was working at ABC Dunhill Publishing. He called me and was very excited because he had gotten such a positive reaction from Three Dog Night and their producer Richie Podler. Anyway, they cut it, it was their single and it was a hit. Bless all of their hearts.

In the Guinness Book of World Records, under Prophecies, there is a reference to Shambala where it says, ‘Any one who furthers the name, ‘Shambala’ shall be rewarded 100 times.’ And so it is.”

This was used in a commercial television advertisement campaign for Citgo Petroleum. 

Cory Wells, who along with Danny Hutton and Chuck Negron was one of three vocalists in the band, sang lead on this track. Wells died in 2015 at age 74.


Wash away my troubles, wash away my pain
With the rain in Shambala
Wash away my sorrow, wash away my shame
With the rain in Shambala

Ah, ooh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Everyone is helpful, everyone is kind
On the road to Shambala
Everyone is lucky, everyone is so kind
On the road to Shambala


How does your light shine, in the halls of Shambala

I can tell my sister by the flowers in her eyes
On the road to Shambala
I can tell my brother by the flowers in her eyes
On the road to Shambala


How does your light shine, in the halls of Shambala

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

39 thoughts on “Three Dog Night – Shambala”

  1. I loved this song. Honestly, I never thought about what Shambala meant. The song came out when there were other exotic (to me) words being used in songs, like Hare Krishna, Marrakesh, Baba O’Riley, etc. I just listened to the music and didn’t think about it. It’s cool to read about it now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t think about it at first but then I thought…what are they saying? I should have known…it’s almost the same as Shangri La


  2. One of those groups that you think of early 70’s when you hear them- like Grand Funk Railroad. .. Joy To The World overplayed- this song not so much overplayed. I’ve heard enough about the Jeremiah.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks Hans

        I told him son you are an honor roll student and starting college in August and you can’t capialize everything you should? “Dad I did it on my phone..don’t worry I do it in school”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I must confess I don’t know how to get this on my phone let alone doing this stuff on my phone! He did a great job! I look forward to reading more.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. A good list- 3 of those 10 I’d have on say my Top 25. A few of those albums he lists I will have to check out– the newer ones of course!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The first concert he went to by himself was Foster The People… From what I listen to they are very 80s sounding on some of the things. Thanks for for checking it out. He loves the White Album…always has…

        Liked by 2 people

      5. I have one Foster The People CD- from earlier in the decade- they had a big hit I can’t recall the name that I liked- it was a good album… He has good taste- a great #1. And of course The Band and Dylan.. impressive for a youngin’ but he has been exposed to the great stuff too..

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yes he has been exposed to a lot…He is picking up more. I told him he is lucky…his first concert was Paul and second was Ringo….mine? REO and Billy Squire

        Liked by 2 people

      7. Yea that is bad…I didn’t start off great but maybe a little better than that. Survivor/REO and Nazerth/Billy Squire… Billy before the pink tank top fiasco

        Liked by 2 people

      8. We all have to start somewhere- as I thought with my friend and Styx- the only way to go was up! Billy Square was ok- as you said before the pink top!

        Liked by 2 people

      9. That is odd they didn’t play that. They were a tight tight band. I’m sure it was good…of course probably didn’t compare to the Camaro


      10. This chick was like 15 years older than I was and her car was charcoal gray with black racing stripes & red pin-striping. She had the radio rigged up with external box speakers on extension wires. She popped in the cassette and off we went, jamming. My dad paid for my ticket. I’m pretty sure he was dating her and he was only 37 at the time. 😉😎

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Ah the 80s… well sounds like you had a great time. You remember it in detail…I do that on events long ago…and can’t remember yesterday.


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