Cory Wells, a founding member of the popular 1970's band Three Dog Night has died in New York State.

According to the Associated Press, band-mate Danny Hutton says Wells, age 74, experienced acute back pain weeks ago and died suddenly Tuesday in Dunkirk, where he had lived.

Wells, Hutton and Chuck Negron formed Three Dog Night in 1967. They had a run of  hits, including "One," ''Eli's Coming" and the chart-topping "Joy to the World." Band members took turns on lead vocals, with Wells' singing featured on "Shambala," ''Never Been to Spain" and "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)."

The name of the band came from the custom of indigenous Australians sleeping in a hole in the ground with a dingo to keep them warm. An extremely cold night would require three feral dogs.