“Joy to the World,” a song that unexpectedly topped the Billboard charts in 1971, proves that magic sometimes hides in the most unlikely places. Take a moment and think back – where were you when you first heard that iconic line, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog”? Even now, the mere mention of the song prompts a smile, a hum, or even a spontaneous sing-along.
This track, initially rejected, luckily finds its way into becoming a classic. The song’s music video seems simple but holds a fascinating backstory. The journey of “Joy to The World” is as quirky as its lyrics.
Hoyt Axton, the brain behind the song, never quite finishes writing its lyrics. He crafts the melody and simply adds a chorus about a bullfrog named Jeremiah. It sounds like the setup for a joke, but these incomplete ideas are destined for greatness.
Funny, Axton initially wants to start the song with “Jeremiah was a prophet.” Still, as fate has it, a bullfrog becomes the star instead. When Hoyt Axton presented his song to Three Dog Night’s team, Danny Hutton and Cory Wells, two of the group’s lead singers, rejected the song.
It appears too whimsical, even for Hutton, who has a background in cartoon music. But, as luck has it, Chuck Negron decides to try it. His enthusiasm becomes the catalyst for what comes next.
“Joy To the World” finds its way, almost as an afterthought, onto Three Dog Night’s 1970 LP Naturally. However, it’s not the chosen single; that honor goes to the now-forgettable “One Man Band.”
However, as we now know, destiny has other plans. A Seattle FM radio DJ begins playing the song. Like a joyous contagion, it spread nationwide, ultimately becoming Billboard’s #1 single of 1971. It’s a testament to the unexpected power of music.
Reflecting on their approach, Three Dog Night’s commitment to the song, particularly Negron’s passionate delivery, is admirable. There is no half-heartedness, no sarcasm in the song. This wholehearted embrace transforms “Joy to The World” into a beloved hit.
Moreover, the legacy of “Joy To The World” isn’t just in its charts success or its infectious chorus. It’s in the sense of joy, unity, and simplicity it brings. This song reminds us of simpler joys in today’s world, where complexity often reigns. This joy can unite strangers in a moment of pure, unadulterated happiness.
So, take a trip down memory lane, watch this video clip, and share it with your friends and family. Because sometimes, we all need to be reminded of the uncomplicated pleasures of life, the kind found in a song about a bullfrog named Jeremiah.