Dawn – Knock Three Times

First Hit #1: January 23, 1971

It’s a difficult trick to make a song about unrequited love seem innocent, rather than creepy. Knock Three Times is evidence of this, since Tony Orlando, in spite of his best efforts, has to deliver lines about watching a woman from a distance which, unfortunately, sound more stalker than charming. It would probably be better if the chorus wasn’t about arranging a booty call, but they pretty much are and as a result, we’re hitting somewhere in the middle of the stalker spectrum. It is a fun song in its way, piling on some latin pipes and using inventive percussion to drive the point home, but it’s hardly anything memorable, and it is never fun enough to overcome the lyrics, which are just creepy enough for discomfort.

Also, I’ll probably get into this in the future, but the Tony Orlando and Dawn Featuring Tony Orlando spectrum of credits is really far more confusing than it has to be, especially since Tony Orlando and/or Dawn generally don’t have singles that make confusing naming conventions worth it.

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One Response to Dawn – Knock Three Times

  1. RBerman says:

    The complications started when record executive Tony Orlando had a surprise hit singing lead vocals with a couple of studio ladies backing him up. The original group name “Dawn” proved too nondescript to stand alone, and doubtless some lawyers had their way deciding whether Dawn or Orlando should get top billing on subsequent releases, especially since the two ladies who toured with him as Dawn were not the two from the original recording. Thus in show business.

    The lyrics envision an urban, adult version of the first grade “Do you like me? Check yes or no” game for a man too shy to actually approach the girl he fancies. Apart from the horns and prominent bass guitar, the melody seems like something you might have heard from The Drifters ten years prior.

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