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The Doobie Brothers Biography

Home > Music > D > Doobie Brothers, The > Biography

Birth Place: San Jose, California, U.S.
Years Active: 1970–1982, 1987–present
Genres: Rock, Hard Rock, Pop

The Doobie Brothers are an American rock band. They have sold over 30 million albums in the United States from the 1970s to the present. The Doobie Brothers were inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004. Over the course of the band's history the lineup has undergone many changes including periods that included Steely Dan's Jeff "Skunk" Baxter as well as Michael McDonald. Six of their albums have reached platinum sales with 1978's "Minute by Minute" earning triple platinum status. "Minute by Minute" also reached #1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Singles "Black Water" and "What a Fool Believes" were both #1 hits on the Billboard chart.

They released their self-titled debut album in 1971. The first single from the album, "Nobody," failed to chart, as did the album itself.

The following year's second album, “Toulouse Street,” spawned the hits and classic rock staples, "Listen to the Music" and "Jesus Is Just Alright" and brought the band their breakthrough success.

A string of hits followed, including "Long Train Runnin'" and "China Grove", from the 1973 album “The Captain and Me.” Other noteworthy songs on the album were the country-ish ode "South City Midnight Lady" and the explosive, hard rocking raveup, "Without You." The album is certified 2x Platinum by the RIAA.

1974's “What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits,” brought Jeff "Skunk" Baxter into the fold as an additional guitarist. The album included the band's first #1 single, "Black Water."

The western-themed “Stampede” was released in 1975. It featured yet another hit single, a cover of the Holland-Dozier-Holland-written Motown hit "Take Me in Your Arms" (originally sung by Kim Weston and also covered by Blood Sweat and Tears) that went to #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

Michael McDonald would join the band in 1976 as lead singer Tom Johnston was suffering from illness. The LP, “Takin' It to the Streets,” showcased McDonald and a radical change in their sound. “Takin' It to the Streets” featured McDonald's title track and "It Keeps You Runnin'," which were both Top 40 hits. A greatest hits compilation, “Best of the Doobies,” followed before year's end. In 1996, the Recording Industry Association of America certified “Best of the Doobies” "Diamond" for sales in excess of ten million.

Their new sound was further refined and McDonald's dominant role cemented with 1977's “Livin' on the Fault Line.” It featured a cover of the Motown classic "Little Darling (I Need You)," "Echoes Of Love"and "You Belong To Me."

1978's “Minute by Minute” spent five weeks at the top of the music charts and dominated several radio formats for the better part of two years. McDonald's song "What a Fool Believes," written with Kenny Loggins, was the band's second #1 single and earned the songwriting duo a Grammy Award for Record of the Year. The breezy, McDonald-penned title song received the Grammy for Pop Vocal Performance by a Group and the album was honored with an Album of the Year nod.

The 1980 album “One Step Closer” featured the hit title track and the Top Ten smash "Real Love." By the end of 1981, after a host of personnel changes that included Baxter leaving the group and the prospect of having no remaining original members, the elected instead to disband.

After reuniting to perform at a benefit concert for Vietnam War veterans, they eventually decided to replicate the “Toulouse Street”/”Captain and Me” incarnation and released “Cycles” in 1989. It featured a Top 10 single, "The Doctor," as well as Top 40 singles "South of the Border" and "Need a Little Taste of Love."

The success of “Cycles” led to the release of 1991's “Brotherhood” which featured the singles “Dangerous” and “Rollin’ On.” After another brief time off, the band released 2000’s “Sibling Rivalry,” their first new studio album in nine years.

It would be another ten years before “World Gone Crazy” was released in 2010. It debuted at #39 on the Billboard top 200 albums chart, their highest charting position since 1989. The first single was a remake of their 1971 debut single, “Nobody.”