“China Grove”! “What A Fool Believes!” A Tale Of Two Doobie Brothers!

the doobie-brothers

The Two Faces Of The Doobie Brothers!

I want to celebrate one of the best classic rock bands of the 70’s….who also happened to be one of the best r’n’b bands of the 80’s!

Michael McDonald Doobie Brothers

Here’s a look at a classic band, their transformation, and their rebirth!

Behold The Doobie Brothers!

The Doobie Brothers were one of the biggest bands of the 70’s – they formed in the early 70’s, with original founding members Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons…

toulouse-street-doobie brothers

“Listen To The Music!”

The band broke through with the smash hit album “Toulouse Street”, helped by a string of catchy rock hits. Here they are in 1975, with a live version from Midnight Special of their first smash hit, “Listen To The Music”:

“Jesus Is Just Alright!”

“Listen To The Music” was a huge hit, and so was this classic Doobie song from the album. Here is the band in later years, still able to bring “Jesus” to life with a great sound!

“Rockin’ Down The Highway!”

The Doobies continued their string of hits with this classic rocker:

classic doobie brothers albums

The hits just kept coming for the band in the 70’s. “The Captain And Me” album was next, with the hits “China Grove” and “Long Train Runnin'” – and The Doobies 70’s country rock sound was never better…

doobie brothers black water

On their next album, they had the smash hit “Black Water”, and the band kept getting more and more popular….until:

Stampede The Doobie Brothers


The next Doobies album included the hit “Take Me In Your Arms”, and fans could see that the album had more of a country flavor to it…what fans didn’t know was, behind the scenes, there were big changes on the horizon:

Doobie Brothers

The Doobies Get Soul!

Lead singer Tom Johnston began having health problems, including a bleeding ulcer. He abruptly stepped away from the band, and the group brought in singer Michael McDonald – immediately turning the band into one of the most soulful of the late 70’s and 80’s!

doobie brothers minute by minute

With Michael McDonald’s soulful voice and silly r’n’b vibe, the band’s sound changed dramatically, but the band had hits like “What A Fool Believes”, “Takin’ It To The Streets” and “It Keeps You Runnin'”…


“What A fool Believes” was written by McDonald and Kenny Loggins, and was the Doobie’s second #1 single…here is a live version from 1985:

Clearly, this could not be a more different Doobie Brothers, and ultimately, Michael McDonald launched a successful solo career…the band broke up when the members realized the two musical directions weren’t working for them…

Doobie brothers albums

The Return Of Tom Johnson!

At the end of the 80’s, the original band members, including a healthy Tom Johnston, reformed and released a new CD of music, and have continued to release new music ever since!

Doobie Brothers reunion

The Two Doobies Meet!

Now, the two iterations of Doobie have met – and are performing together!

WANTAGH, NY - AUGUST 18:  Patrick Simmons and Tom Johnston of The Doobie Brothers perform at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on August 18, 2012 in Wantagh, New York.  (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

WANTAGH, NY – AUGUST 18: Patrick Simmons and Tom Johnston of The Doobie Brothers perform at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on August 18, 2012 in Wantagh, New York. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Great shot by photographer Taylor Hill from Getty Images.

Great to see the Doobie Brothers continuing to entertain the fans – and keep classic 70’s country rock alive!

And speaking of that:

jackson-browne take it easy

Jackson Browne – The Sound Of The 70’s!

While The Doobie Brothers personify the sound of the 70’s, the real master of that is Jackson Browne…not only did he have an incredible string of hits, but he continues to make great music today!

new Jackson Browne music

To read all about his latest CD, click on my story here:


Browne also wrote the Eagles first big hit, “Take It Easy” – and that helped make them the biggest country rock band of the 70’s!


The Eagles are on a great tour that looks at their rich musical history, with early members of the band performing classic album tracks!

Eagles history tour

If you want to read my review of the “History Of The Eagles” concert, you can click on my story here:


Jackson Browne, The Eagles, and of course, The Doobie Brothers will always define to me the best of country rock!

Categories: 70's Music, Awards, Books / Media, Classic Rock, documentary films, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Music, Obscure Music, Talent/Celebrities, Uncategorized

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6 replies

  1. Great write-up, John. ‘Long Train Running’ was a huge favourite of mine, but the soul vibe of McDonald’s voice sold it for me, and the ‘new Doobies’ became one of my most-liked bands.
    Best wishes, Pete.


  1. “Jungle Love!” Steve Miller “Flies Like An Eagle”! All The Greatest 70’s Music! ELO! Supertramp! Steely Dan! Todd Rundgren! | johnrieber
  2. Songs In The Key Of “D”! Classic Rock! Iconic Bands! Eagles! Doors! Diamond Dogs! – johnrieber
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