There was no "Dawn" when this song was recorded. Two producers, Hank Medress and Dave Appell, recorded the song "Candida
" with an artist they were working with named Frankie Paris for Bell Records. Label boss Larry Utell didn't like Paris' vocal, so the producers persuaded their old friend Tony Orlando (then working for the publishing arm of CBS Records) to record it.
Orlando, who had hits "Halfway to Paradise" (#39) and "Bless You" (#15) in 1961 as a 16-year-old, had retired from singing but reluctantly recorded the song. When it was released in June 1970, Orlando insisted his name be kept off of it, since it could be a conflict with his employer, do the single was issued as Dawn (there are at least three different stories of whose daughter the group was named after). Orlando didn't think much of it, but "Candida" became a big hit, rising to #3 in October. This convinced him to revive his singing career.
Medress and Appell scrambled to record an entire album with Orlando and find a follow-up single. That single was "Knock Three Times," written by "Candida" co-writer Irwin Levine and the lyricist L. Russell "Larry" Brown. Both the album and single were released under the name Dawn, which became Tony Orlando & Dawn when he cut ties with CBS. The song rose to #1 in January 1971.