Joy to the World

Three Dog Night burst onto the scenes in the early ‘70s with the release of their single, Joy to the World – written by Hoyt Axton.  It first appeared on their 4th studio album but was released as a single in February of 1971.

I remember it fondly.  It took over the airwaves of Jacksonville, NC where I was living at the time.  I was 11 almost 12 when the single came out.  As the kids say now, it went viral.

What a glorious time of my life that was.  My world had not yet gotten dark and heavy.

The song is infectious – from the opening of Jeremiah was a bullfrog “to the refrain of Joy to World all the boys and girls.   it inspired surprise, joy, and dancing.  You just couldn’t help yourself.

My girlfriends and I were rocking out to the song in my living room one day when my mother came home from work.  Mom, uncharacteristically, grabbed the tambourine we had – the one I don’t know why we had as none of us were musical – and began beating it against her thigh and dancing around the living room.  I had monkey pod wooden fruit – a banana and a pear, I think – that I was banging together in rhythm to the song and we danced.  We were all singling loudly and probably offkey.  I can’t remember who all “we” were, but I had a group of friends and I think we were all represented that day.

 I must have had the album because we just kept playing it over and over again.  Over and over.  Laughing harder each time.

What a spectacle we must have been. 

1971 was 52 years ago. 

How can I be this old?

It’s probably the old fart in me talking, but music these days doesn’t seem to allow for joy.  For exuberant dancing.  For tambourines and wooden fruit as accompaniment. 

I am getting old.

And I wonder how many of the songs of today people will reference 51 years from now and folks will know what they’re talking about.  You might argue that the world is too dark now for such things.

The late 60s and early 70s were very tumultuous times in the United States – the Vietnam War, civil rights unrest, Watergate, etc., etc., but there was still room for joy and dancing wildly in one’s living room.  We managed joy in spite of it all. 

I’d like for us to get back to that.  To light-hearted music with an important message — joy to you and me.

Or maybe there are such songs and I just don’t hear them.  I am an old fart.

But Jeremiah was a bullfrog and a good friend of mine.

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