Hoyt Axton (March 25, 1938 – October 26, 1999) was an American folk music singer-songwriter, guitarist and a film / television actor….who became prominent in the early 1960’s….while establishing himself on the West Coast as a folk singer with an earthy style and powerful voice. As he matured, some of his songwriting became well known throughout the world…..with song like “Joy to the World”, “The Pusher”, “No No Song”, “Greenback Dollar”, “Della and the Dealer” and “Never Been to Spain”
After his discharge from the navy, Axton began singing folk songs in San Francisco nightclubs….when In the early-1960’s he released his first folk album The Balladeer ….which was recorded at the Troubadour…. and included his song “Greenback Dollar”…..as it became a 1963 hit for the Kingston Trio. Axton was managed by Martin Pichinson….and released numerous albums throughout the 1970’s….with many minor hits of his own, such as “Boney Fingers”….”When the Morning Comes“…..“Della and the Dealer”….as well as “Jealous Man” ….with the latter two he sang in a guest appearance on the TV sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati). His vocal style featured his distinctive bass-baritone….which later deepened to near-bass….along with his use of characterization.
However, his most lasting contributions were songs made famous by others….such as “Joy to the World”….as seen in this video herewith in his live Austin City Limits performance in 1979….and “Never Been to Spain” by Three Dog Night….plus, “Greenback Dollar” by the Kingston Trio….in addition to “The Pusher” and “Snowblind Friend” by Steppenwolf….not to mention “No-No Song” by Ringo Starr….and an array of others covered by singers such as Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie, BJ Thomas, John Denver, Waylon Jennings, Jonathan Edwards, Glen Campbell and Anne Murray. Axton also sang a couple of duets with Linda Ronstadt….which included “Lion in Winter” and “When the Morning Comes”….which was a top 40 country hit.
His composition “Joy to the World”….as performed by Three Dog Night….was # 1 on the charts for six straight weeks in 1971….while making it the top hit of the year…..so, Axton named his record label Jeremiah after the bullfrog mentioned in the song.