Three Dog Night singer Cory Wells dies

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Three Dog Night singer Cory Wells dies
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 08: Cory Wells performs with Three Dog Night at Chene Park Amphitheater on August 8, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Paul Warner/WireImage)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 08: Danny Hutton (L) and Cory Wells of Three Dog Night performs at Chene Park Amphitheater on August 8, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 08: Cory Wells of Three Dog Night performs at Chene Park Amphitheater on August 8, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images)
COCONUT CREEK, FL - JANUARY 05: Cory Wells of Three Dog Night performs at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek on January 5, 2013 in Coconut Creek, Florida. (Photo by Larry Marano/Getty Images)
COCONUT CREEK, FL - JANUARY 05: Cory Wells of Three Dog Night performs at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek on January 5, 2013 in Coconut Creek, Florida. (Photo by Vallery Jean/FilmMagic)
COCONUT CREEK, FL - JANUARY 05: Cory Wells of Three Dog Night performs at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek on January 5, 2013 in Coconut Creek, Florida. (Photo by Vallery Jean/FilmMagic)
(L-R) Cory Wells of Three Dog Night, Bruce Resnikoff, UME President/CEO, and Danny Hutton of Three Dog Night with plaques presented by Resnikoff to commemorate RIAA-certified multiplatinum sales of the Three Dog Night catalog, on August 22, 2008 at Universal Music Group in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Michael Schwartz/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 02: Photo of THREE DOG NIGHT and Chuck NEGRON and Cory WELLS and Danny HUTTON; Posed group portrait L-R Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron and Cory Wells (Photo by Jim McCrary/Redferns)
DICK CLARK'S NEW YEAR'S ROCKIN' EVE -- Aired 12/31/1972-- Pictured: Three Dog Night: Chuck Negron, Danny Hutton, Cory Wells (Photo by Fred A. Sabine/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
DICK CLARK'S NEW YEAR'S ROCKIN' EVE -- Aired 12/31/1972-- Pictured: Three Dog Night: Chuck Negron, Danny Hutton, Cory Wells (Photo by Fred A. Sabine/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - JULY 05: Three Dog Night Band members, Danny Hutton(L), Cory Wells and Paul Kingery (R) performs for fans on the beach at the Atlantic City Hilton on July 5, 2008 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Photo by Donald Kravitz/Getty Images)
Three Dog Night perform on stage, Edmonton Sundown, London, UK, 1972, L-R Mike Allsup, Chuck Negron, Joe Schermie, Cory Wells, Danny Hutton. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
DICK CLARK'S NEW YEAR'S ROCKIN' EVE -- Aired 12/31/1972 -- Pictured: Cory Wells of Three Dog Night (Photo by Fred A. Sabine/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 14: The band, Three Dog Night (from left: Cory Wells, Chuck Negron and Danny Hutton) being visited on stage by John Wayne (in hat) on THE GLEN CAMPBELL GOODTIME HOUR. Image dated September 14, 1971. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
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Cory Wells of Three Dog Night -- one of the biggest rock bands of the early '70s -- passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 20, his bandmates confirmed in a press release. He was 74 years old, according to the press release.

"It is with deep sadness and disbelief that I must report the passing of Cory Wells, my beloved band mate for over 45 years," said Danny Hutton of Three Dog Night. "Cory was an incredible singer -- a great performer, he could sing anything. Cory was like a brother in so many ways. We had been together since 1965 and I am in shock at this sudden loss."

A founding member of Three Dog Night, Wells was one of the band's three lead singers. They topped the Billboard Hot 100 three times with seminal classics "Joy to the World" (which has appeared in countless films and TV shows), "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)" and "Black and White." The band -- best known for covering other songwriters' material -- earned 21 top 40 Hot 100 hits.

They put 11 albums in the Billboard 200's top 20, with 1971's Golden Biscuitspeaking at No. 5.

After decades with Three Dog Night, Wells stopped performing in September after developing severe back pain. Wells is survived by Mary, his wife of 50 years, his daughters Coryann and Dawn Marie, and five grandchildren.

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