Three Dog Night – The Family Of Man

When I was around 10 years old …with help from mom, I ordered Three Dog NIght’s greatest hits off of a commercial on television. When I got it I wore it out and zeroed in on this song (and Celebrate). This is an environmental song…probably one of the first that I heard or least paid attention to. The message is really good.

I think the writers were influenced slightly by “It’s All Too Much” a Beatle song that George Harrison wrote. That is why I think I liked it so much…it sounded familiar. To be truthful about it…I thought this post was going to be a Three Dog Night “deep cut” (yea people would line up for that)…I had no clue it was a hit…of course being on the greatest “hits” should have clued me in. I just never heard it on the radio.

The Family of Man is a song written by Paul Williams and Jack Conrad, produced by Richard Podolor. It was on their 1971 album, Harmony.

The Family of Man peaked at  #12 in the Billboard 100, and #5 in Canada.  The album Harmony peaked at #8 in the Billboard Album Charts and #11 in Canada in 1971. So it just missed being a top 10 hit and was a top 5 hit in Canada.

Three Dog Night were huge in the seventies. They had 3 number 1 songs, 21 songs in the top 100, and 11 top ten hits in the Billboard 100. Not bad for a group with three lead singers. I’m alright with them as long as I don’t hear Joy To The World again.

The commercial that I ordered it from…

Family Of Man

This tired city was somebody’s dream
Billboard horizons as black as they seem
A four-level highway across the land
We’re building a home for the family of man

Prices are rising, the devil’s to pay
Moving the mountain that got in the way
Prayer books and meetings to find a plan
Deciding the fate of the family of man

So hard
Whatever are we coming to?
Yes, it’s so hard
With so little time and so much to do

Memories replacing the loves that we lost
Burning our bridges as soon as they’re crossed
Factories built where the rivers ran
Time’s running out for the family of man

So hard

So hard
So hard
So hard, family of man
So hard, family of man
So hard, family of man
So hard, family of man
So hard, family of man
So hard, family of man
So hard, family of man
So hard, family of man
So hard, family of man

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.

Postscript:
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.

Shambala

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

[Chorus]
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

[Chorus]

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

[Chorus]

How does your light shine, in the halls of Shambala