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Single Serving: Dr BLT’s PsychoSONGanalysis of 
One is the Loneliest Number by 
Three Dog Night 

To get “tuned up” for the following single serving, please take a moment to listen to this One cover by the reviewer of this song, Dr BLT:

Dr BLT cover of Three Dog Night

I was sitting in the pew with my wife and 4-going-on-five-year-old daughter at Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, California, the church I call THE CHURCH OF BUCK OWENS (it’s where Buck Owens used to go, and the church mentioned in this song, where his funeral was held).
Resurrectin’ Buck (audio sample) 
Words and music by Dr BLT copyright 2010 

Much to my delight, Roger Spradlin, co-pastor of the church, began quoting one of my favorite songs shortly into his message…

One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do
Two can be as bad as one
It's the loneliest number since the number one… 

It was the lyrics that led into a wonderfully inspiring sermon about how much better we feel, and how much more we thrive when we are meaningfully connected with others.  The Bible says “Where two or more are gathered, there I am in the midst,” and I have felt the presence of God so much more powerfully when I have been with others.  I remember many times in church, when we’d be singing songs like this, and the whole room felt like it was on fire with the spirit of the living God:

There’s a sweet, sweet spirit in this place 
And I know that it’s the spirit of the Lord 
There are sweet expressions on each face 
And I know that it’s the presence of the Lord… 

I’m playing the song right now, as sung by the Imperials. Elvis used to like to sing this song with them, but now I’m getting off track. 

I was talking about the song, One by Three Dog Night.  But now I’m going to have to go off track again, because as I was looking for that song to play, I stumbled across a rare find.  

In the album jacket of an old sampler album of mine (on vinyl) from the sixties, entitled Capitol Pops for March ’66---I that picked up somewhere at a flee mart or something, I just found what appears to be an old news feed labeled “Urgent” with Gemini in brackets just under the URGENT heading.  The news feed starts out like this:

“The Gemini flight astronauts have described the crucial period of their flight, when they tumbled in space after a successful link-up with an unmanned agena.  Neil Armstrong told a news conference in Houston that, at one point after the ships had been locked together, the structural integrity was in jeopardy…”

Now my challenge will be to be able to relate this exciting find, a conspicuous distraction, to the overall content of this song review.  Here goes…

The situation described in this news feed sounds rather alarming and I’m sure the crew was a little shaken up, but think about how Neil Armstrong might have felt if his crew was not with him, if he was all alone in space.

Things that are alarming or startling are doubly alarming and doubly startling, at least doubly startling, if experienced alone.  

The pastor mentioned a study supposedly demonstrating that food containing non-nutritive additives, or simply good-tasting but otherwise unhealthy food, is much more harmful to the body when consumed alone than when consumed with friends.  

God created us to be social beings, and the song, One, by Three Dog Night makes that poignantly clear.  Their execution of the song is deftly skillful.  You can feel the loneliness deeply embedded into the underlying sentiment of the song.  

The music of Three Dog Night seems to always contain a memorable, distinct and unique melody.  When you hear Three Dog Night, you know that is Three Dog Night and that it could be no other band.

It’s hard to imagine a One Dog Night, especially after the pastor explained to the congregation what Three Dog Night means.  It is apparently an old term used by Inuit peoples to refer to a really cold night, when one needs to surround oneself with at least 3 dogs in order to keep warm.

We as human beings, often find our souls becoming cold.  Sometimes we need to be surrounded by three dawgs to stay warm, or three believers who can warm our hearts and strengthen our faith and our spirits with words of tenderness and prayer.  

No is the saddest experience you'll ever know
Yes, it's the saddest experience you'll ever know
`Cause one is the loneliest number that you'll ever do
One is the loneliest number, worse than two 

I’m assuming the “no” in these lines refers to the “no” of rejection, as in “No, I don’t want to be with you anymore.”  Can I get a witness?  Short of perhaps a loved one dying, I’m sure no one would deny that, in this context, “no” is anything but “the saddest experience you’ll ever know.”  

One is not only one of the loneliest numbers that Three Dog Night have ever recorded or performed, but One is one of their very best.  So the best way to wrap this up is just to leave you with more of the lyrics, and let the lyrics do the rest of the talking. 

It's just no good anymore since she went away
Now I spend my time just making rhymes of yesterday

One is the loneliest, number one is the loneliest
Number one is the loneliest number that you'll ever do
One is the loneliest, one is the loneliest
One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do
It's just no good anymore since she went away
(Number) One is the loneliest
(Number) One is the loneliest
(Number) One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do
(Number) One is the loneliest
(Number) One is the loneliest
(Number) One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do 

Copyright © 1996 - 2010 The Phantom Tollbooth