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Doobie Brothers

Rock/R&B-styled group formed in San Jose, CA in 1970.

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The Doobies made many of the best and brightest records of the 1970's.

  • Sep 25, 2009

While I am not a particularly big fan of the music of the 1970's one group that stood head and shoulders above the rest was the Doobie Brothers.  Led by vocalist Tom Johnston, this group successfully combined elements of rock 'n roll and R&B and made some of the most memorable music of the decade.  And despite a rash of personnel changes along the way the group continued to make great music throughout the 1970's.

It did not take long for the group to make its mark on the American music scene.  Formed in San Jose, Ca. in 1970, the Doobies found themselves riding high on the Billboard Top Pop Singles chart when in the fall of 1972 their debut release "Listen To The Music" leaped all the way to #11.  Quite an accomplishment!  Over the next few years the hits just kept on comin' with memorable songs like "Long Train Runnin" "Black Water" and "China Grove".   What I particularly enjoyed about the Doobie Brothers was that no two songs seemed to sound alike.  This was a very innovative group that featured tight harmonies and superior musicianship.

As I mentioned earlier the group was plagued by constant personnel changes which made the fact that their music was so consistantly good all the more remarkable.  In 1975, Michael McDonald came aboard to replace Tom Johnston and lent his considerable talents to the group.  But the group had a lot of trouble coming up with another big hit.  "Takin' It To The Streets" and "It Keeps You Runnin'" were great records but it seemed the public had lost some interest.   In late 1978 the group released the album "Minute By Minute".  This record was greeted with wild enthusiasm by the public.  Not only did it reach #1 on the Billboard Albums chart, but it stayed there for five weeks.
 " Minute By Minute" also spawned the #1 single "What A Fool Believes" which in my opinion could well be the best single release of the decade.  The group continued to have varying amounts of success until they finally disbanded in 1983.  The group re-formed briefly in 1989 with Tom Johnston at the helm and released the great Top 10 single "The Doctor".

If you are looking for a great collection of this group then I would suggest Rhino's 2001 release  "Doobie Brothers Greatest Hits".  Unfortunately this disc has been discontinued but there are still copies to be found online.   In 2007 Rhino replaced that offering with the two disc--33 track package called "The Very Best of the Dobbie Brothers".  This is a bit more music than I was interested in but it is still a fine collection.   The Doobies maintain a website and still make appearances from time to time.  Long live the Doobies!

Doobies 3 Doobies 4 Doobies 1 Doobies 2

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September 25, 2009
Great review of a great 70s band. Like you, I loved their music. Thanks for bringing it back to me.
More The Doobie Brothers reviews
review by . June 16, 2009
posted in Music Matters
Well, lots of hits, award winning, yes, made money....sorry, not a fan they didn't do enough!
I think one of the things I love about The Doobie Brothers is that they DIDN'T bring anything new to the table.  If you look at a top 100 bands list, or a greatest songs of all time book, you may not see these guys get a mention, you just see the same old names for the same old reasons, "changed the way we look at this and that." or  "countless influenced by blah blah blah."  The same thing over and over which makes me wonder why those lists keep getting made. …
Quick Tip by . October 06, 2009
One of the biggest US rock bands has plenty of hits but doesn't get the love they should for not reinventing the wheel in music.
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on I never could … more
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Stephen Thomas Erlewine
As one of the most popular Californian pop/rock bands of the '70s, the Doobie Brothers evolved from a mellow, post-hippie boogie band to a slick, soul-inflected pop band by the end of the decade. Along the way, the group racked up a string of gold and platinum albums in the U.S., along with a number of radio hits like "Listen to the Music," "Black Water," and "China Grove."

The roots of the Doobie Brothers lie in Pud, a short-lived Californian country-rock band in the vein of Moby Grape featuring guitarist/vocalist Tom Johnston and drummer John Hartman. After Pud collapsed in 1969, the pair began jamming with bassist Dave Shogren and guitarist Patrick Simmons. Eventually, the quartet decided to form a group, naming themselves the Doobie Brothers after a slang term for marijuana. Soon, the Doobies earned a strong following throughout Southern California, especially among Hell's Angels, and they were signed to Warner Bros. in 1970. The band's eponymous debut was ignored upon its 1971 release. Following its release, Shogren was replaced by Tiran Porter and the group added a second drummer, Michael Hossack, for 1972's Toulouse Street. Driven by the singles "Listen to the Music" and "Jesus Is Just Alright," Toulouse Street became the group's breakthrough. The Captain and Me (1973) was even more successful, spawning the Top Ten hit "Long Train Runnin'" and ...

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