Jeremiah Was A... Bullfrog? Three Dog Night's Accidental Hit 'Joy To The World'

By | November 28, 2017

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Three Dog Night as pictured on the cover of the 1970 album 'Naturally.' Source: Amazon

Kicking off with the opening line "Jeremiah was a bullfrog," Three Dog Night's "Joy To The World" was a #1 hit for the band in 1971. In fact, it spent six weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and was the #1 single of the year. Three Dog Night didn't write "Joy To The World" -- that was Hoyt Axton -- and its curious line about a bullfrog named Jeremiah wasn't even intended to be committed to vinyl, much less played on radio.

The story behind the hit song, which saw a resurgence in popularity with its inclusion on the soundtrack of The Big Chill, is really quite unusual and amusing. It was an unlikely story of irony and success.

'Joy To The World' Has Country Roots

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The song was written by Hoyt Axton, a country music singer, guitarist, songwriter and actor. He had established himself in the early 1960s with his rich, smooth and powerful voice. Axton had many hit songs to his credit. "Joy to the World" was a song he wrote in anticipation of an animated television special -- it was to be called "The Happy Song." The television special never happened, but that’s OK because Axton never actually finished the song. The story could have ended there.