7 Songs You Didn’t Know Hoyt Axton Wrote for Other Artists

Before multi-hyphenate entertainer Hoyt Axton became a renowned country-folk singer and occasional actor, he rose to prominence as a songwriter. Crafting music that was both gritty and full of warmth, Axton’s songs were beautiful contradictions—deeply honest tunes that pierced the heart, but also silly little ditties that encourage a smile.

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[RELATED: The Top 10 Need-to-Know Three Dog Night Songs (That Aren’t “One” or “Joy To The World”)]

The songs he penned have been interpreted by so many artists, charming listeners with their one-of-a-kind style. Here are 7 of those songs you may not have known Hoyt Axton wrote.

1. “Joy to the World” – Three Dog Night

Written by Hoyt Axton

Jeremiah was a bullfrog / He was a good friend of mine, opens the iconic Three Dog Night song “Joy to the World.”

The band was the first to release the highly-covered Axton tune in 1970 with Axton releasing his own rendition a few months later in 1971.

2. “Ease Your Pain” – Jackie DeShannon

Written by Hoyt Axton

If I could ease your pain / If I could lighten your load / If I could make it just a little bit better for you / If I could just help you find / That secret place in your mind / Where the light of understanding gonna outshine the sun, DeShannon sings on “Ease Your Pain.”

Jackie Shannon first recorded the Axton penned “Ease Your Pain” in 1971, roughing up the tune with her trademark husky lilt.

3. “Sweet Fantasy” – Glen Campbell

Written by Hoyt Axton

Rivers will run mountains will rise / I love you more than the stars in the skies / I’ll never treat you wrong won’t make you cry / Just sing you sweet love songs won’t tell you lies, Campbell sings in “Sweet Fantasy.”

Glen Campbell first recorded the Axton tune in 1972, his crystalline baritone giving the song a beautiful lightness.

4. “No No Song” – Ringo Starr

Written by Hoyt Axton, David Jackson

I said “No, no, no, no, I don’t smoke it no more / I’m tired of waking up on the floor / No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze / And then it makes it hard to find the door,” Starr sings on Axton’s “No No Song.”

The tongue-in-cheek tune was first recorded in 1974 by former Beatle Ringo Starr who punctuated the track with delightful theatrics.

5. “It’s All Right Now” – Tiny Tim

Written by Hoyt Axton

It’s all right now / Take it easy / Don’t you worry / It’s all right now, Tiny Tim theatrically belows in “It’s All Right Now.”

The eccentric performer and ukulele virtuoso was the first to record Axton’s song in 1968. A few months later, the songsmith would release his own version of “It’s All Right Now.”

6. “Somebody Turned on the Light” – Arlo Guthrie

Written by Hoyt Axton

And I never saw the sun till ’71 / But I never gave up the fight / I sure was glad when I saw the dawn / Somebody, somebody turned on the light, plays the triumphant “Somebody Turned on the Light.”

Arlo Guthrie recorded the tune in 1972, uplifting the song with his uniquely warbling tenor.

7. “The Pusher” – Steppenwolf

Written by Hoyt Axton

You know, I’ve seen a lot of people walkin’ ’round / With tombstones in their eyes / But the pusher don’t care / Ah, if you live or if you die, bellows Steppenwolf in the haunting Axton penned song, “The Pusher.”

Steppenwolf was the first to record the track, releasing it in early 1968. Axton would release his version of “The Pusher” a few years later in 1971.

Photo by David Redfern/Redferns

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