Three Dog Night Singer Cory Wells Dies

AP Photo/Jon Elswick
Cory Wells, lead singer and founding member of the group Three Dog Night, performing in 2010.

Cory Wells of Three Dog Night -- one of the biggest rock bands of the early '70s -- passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 20, his bandmates confirmed in a press release. He was 74 years old, according to the press release.

"It is with deep sadness and disbelief that I must report the passing of Cory Wells, my beloved band mate for over 45 years," said Danny Hutton of Three Dog Night. "Cory was an incredible singer -- a great performer, he could sing anything. Cory was like a brother in so many ways. We had been together since 1965 and I am in shock at this sudden loss."

A founding member of Three Dog Night, Wells was one of the band's three lead singers. They topped the Billboard Hot 100 three times with seminal classics "Joy to the World" (which has appeared in countless films and TV shows), "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)" and "Black and White." The band -- best known for covering other songwriters' material -- earned 21 top 40 Hot 100 hits.

They put 11 albums in the Billboard 200's top 20, with 1971's Golden Biscuits peaking at No. 5.

After decades with Three Dog Night, Wells stopped performing in September after developing severe back pain. Wells is survived by Mary, his wife of 50 years, his daughters Coryann and Dawn Marie, and five grandchildren.