Why The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz and The Carpenters Lost the Chance to Record Three Dog Night’s ‘An Old Fashioned Love Song’ 1st

“An Old Fashioned Love Song” is one of Three Dog Night’s most famous songs. Both Micky Dolenz of The Monkees and The Carpenters lost the chance to record the song. Listeners in the United States and the United Kingdom had different reactions to the song.

The Monkees' Micky Dolenz with a guitar
The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz | Michael Putland/Getty Images

Why Paul Williams wrote Three Dog Night’s ‘An Old Fashioned Love Song’

Paul Williams is a professional songwriter who wrote hits such as Barbra Streisand‘s “Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)” and The Muppets‘ “Rainbow Connection.” During an interview with Music Radar, Williams revealed why he wrote “An Old Fashioned Love Song” after writing another song. Williams said the song may have been The Carpenters’ “Rainy Days and Mondays.”

“I don’t know if it was ‘Rainy Days and Mondays’ or what, but I walked into this girl’s apartment and said, ‘Well, the kid did it again with another old-fashioned love song,'” Williams recalled. “And the girl went, ‘That’s cool, let’s go.’ I went, ‘Wait a minute… ‘ I went over, and I sat down at her piano, and it’s the fastest that any song has ever come out of me. It was, like, a 20-minute period to write it.”

The Carpenters’ Richard Carpenter wasn’t interested in the song, while The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz waited too long to record it

Williams wanted The Carpenters to record “An Old Fashioned Love Song.” “It just poured out of me, and I sent it to Richard Carpenter,” Williams continued. “I thought it was perfect for The Carpenters, but I don’t think he listened to it past the first verse.” According to the HuffPost, the song was offered to Dolenz after The Monkees’ breakup. However, Three Dog Night scooped up the song before he did.

Williams told Music Radar the members of Three Dog Night weren’t enthusiastic about singing “An Old Fashioned Love Song.” “We sent it to Three Dog Night, and they reluctantly recorded it,” Williams recalled. “All three of the songs I had with them were hits, and they reluctantly recorded all three.” The other songs were “The Family of Man” and “Out in the Country.”

The Carpenters' Richard and Karen Carpenter near a plant
The Carpenters’ Richard and Karen Carpenter | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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The way the world reacted to Three Dog Night’s ‘An Old Fashioned Love Song’

“An Old Fashioned Love” song reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 11 weeks. “An Old Fashioned Love Song” appeared on Three Dog Night’s album Harmony. Harmony peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for 34 weeks.

“An Old Fashioned Love Song” was not popular in the U.K. According to The Official Charts Company, the track did not chart there. Meanwhile, Harmony did not chart there either. Notably, Dolenz later covered the song on his album Remember. Regardless of who sings it, “An Old Fashioned Love Song” remains a classic track.