Saturday, January 23, 1971

Tony Orlando & Dawn hit #1 with “Knock Three Times”

First posted 3/16/2021.

Knock Three Times

Tony Orlando & Dawn

Writer(s): L. Russell Brown, Irwin Levine (see lyrics here)

First Charted: November 21, 1970

Peak: 13 US, 12 CB, 14 HR, 2 AC, 15 UK, 12 CN, 11 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 7.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 7.27 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Tony Orlando had two top-40 hits (“Halfway to Paradise,” “Bless You”) as a teen idol in 1961. It looked like his career had dried up by 1963 so he went to work doing music publishing. One day he was approached by producers Hank Medress and Dave Appell to record a song called “Candida.” Tony obliged but wanted his name left off the project. It was released under the name “Dawn,” named after Stacy Dawn Siegal, whose father was in the Tokens with Medress. BR1 Apparently, there were actually three guys claiming the project was named after their daughters, though. SF

Orlando didn’t expect to hear the song again. Two months later it was in heavy rotation on every radio station in New York. BR1 Now a follow-up was needed. Orlando had heard a song called “Knock Three Times” which he was certain could be a hit if he could produce it. Once again, he recorded under the name Dawn, worried that if he put his name on it, he could lose his job as a producer since the recording was with a different record label. WK

The song was about a guy who falls for his neighbor who lives beneath him. He leaves her a note to knock three times on the ceiling if she’s interested or bang twice on the pipe if she isn’t. As says, “We don’t find out how she responds, but he would probably have better luck if he just talked to her.” SF

Toni White and Linda November sang on the song as well. WK When “Knock Three Times” became a hit, an actual group was needed to promote the song. Orlando reached out to backup singers Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson, who lived in California and had never met Orlando, about touring. Joyce wasn’t interested, but figured if she demanded something outrageous enough, he’d leave her alone. “I’d like a first-class trip to Europe,” she said. He called her bluff and a tour was scheduled. BR1

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Tony Orlando & Dawn
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 287.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

No comments:

Post a Comment