Three Dog Night Drummer, Floyd Sneed, Dies at 80

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Three Dog Night performing on television in 1972

Floyd Sneed, the drummer behind Three Dog Night’s remarkable run of singles in the late ’60s and ’70s, including such classic rock favorites as “Joy to the World” and “An Old Fashioned Love Song,” has died at the age of 80. News of his passing, on Jan. 27, 2023, was posted on the group’s Facebook page on Jan. 29, noting, “Floyd broke many barriers both musically and culturally.” No cause of death was given.

In the band’s post, they described Sneed as “an absolutely wonderful human being, a complete original and a sweetheart of a man. He was also an extraordinarily unique drummer who brought so much to Three Dog Night’s sound. Floyd broke many barriers both musically and culturally; he also influenced countless other drummers with his amazing technique. He will be greatly missed by all of us in the band and the many musicians, artists and others he inspired throughout his life.”

The band’s Chuck Negron paid tribute on his Facebook page: “A wonderful man, friend, and musical peer has passed on to the next part of his journey. Floyd Sneed was a unique and powerful drummer and more importantly a kind and special human being. I will always cherish the times he stayed with my wife Ami and I at our home and the hours we spent spinning tales of our youth when we were Kings.

“I love you Floyd and I will keep you in my heart always.”

Sneed, born Nov. 22, 1942, in Calgary, Canada, received his first drum kit from his older sister, who was married at the time to Tommy Chong. In 1968, two years after Sneed moved to Los Angeles, he met the vocalists Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron and Cory Wells, and along with guitarist Ron Morgan, bass player Joe Schermie and keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon, formed the band Three Dog Night. (Morgan was replaced by guitarist Michael Allsup before they recorded their first album.)

Beginning with 1969’s cover of Nilsson’s “One,” and thanks in part to the versatility of its three lead vocalists, Three Dog Night earned an astounding eleven Top 10 singles through 1973, including the #1s “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” “Joy to the World,” and “Black and White.”

As his official biography notes, “the rhythm section in Three Dog Night became as well known for it’s driving force and the beat as the three lead vocals were.” Sneed continued with the band until 1974, returning in the ’80s when the band reunited.

Watch them perform “Black and White” in 1972

At the time of Sneed’s passing, original members Cory Wells (2015), Jimmy Greenspoon (2015) and Joe Schermie (2012) had pre-deceased him.

Related: Our feature story on Three Dog Night

Best Classic Bands Staff

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  1. BOB
    #1 BOB 30 January, 2023, 01:56

    Met Floyd Sneed at a Christian Music workshop at Saddleback Church a few years ago. Spent most of an afternoon talking to him about 3DN and how much I admired his drumming as being a bass player. His very rhythmic drum technique was quite amazing! R.I.P. Floyd, see you in the Kingdom someday.

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  2. Doug the Thug
    #2 Doug the Thug 9 July, 2023, 00:10

    I had the honor of playing bass for a worship band in an Arcadia Assembly of God church with Floyd on drums for a little over a year. I loved finding the “pocket” of every song we played with him. When I first met him, I was SURPRISED to find out how much he loved the Lord Jesus Christ! He was VERY nice, considering all of his accomplishments and had a great sense of humor. I had lunch also with him many times after church too.

    He told us once that he was going to form a band with Jimi Hendrix right before Hendrix died.

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