Formed in 1969 in the United States, the Doobie Brothers cover a wide number of genres in their music, including R&B, country, folk and soul. Their sound has changed over the years, largely due to the lead vocalists' preferences at the time. When their first singer, Tom Johnston, was in the band up until the mid-1970s, they could be best described as a rock ’n’ roll outfit. After he was replaced by Michael McDonald, the group took a turn that was much more soulful. Although the Doobie Brothers split up in 1982, they reformed five years later and have been performing ever since.
The Doobie Brothers' biggest hit was scored in 1979, when “What a Fool Believes” reached the top spot in the US Billboard charts. It was in the charts for a total of 20 weeks that year. Their other number one hit was “Black Water”, in 1975. Other big hits include “Real Love”, “Long Train Runnin'” and “China Grove”, but there are plenty more in the band's back catalogue.
The Doobie Brothers' early years
Tom Johnston, the guitarist, singer and songwriter, hooked up with John Hartman on drums to form what would later become the Doobie Brothers, in the late 1960s. Mostly working as a trio named Pud, the band expanded in 1970 when the original two teamed up with Dave Shogren, a bassist, and another singer-songwriter named Patrick Simmons. The band performed all over California and were especially popular among the biker fraternity.
In 1971, the Doobie Brothers released their first album. Acoustically dominated, it failed to be much of a commercial success. However, the follow up, Toulouse Street, reached number 21 in the album charts in the US and spawned two hit singles, including “Listen to the Music”, in 1972.
The Doobie Brothers with Michael McDonald
Although three further studio albums followed in the 1970s, the last of these being Stampede, Johnston was unable to sing live or go on tour due to ill health. However, they were contractually obliged to release another album. In 1976, the decision was taken to hire Michael McDonald, previously known for his vocal work with Steely Dan. Takin' It to the Streets was the result. Although it is a rock album, it is much more soul-orientated than earlier works. It got to number eight in the charts and the title track became a hit single.
Since 1993, the Doobie Brothers have continued to perform live all over the world. Sometimes they have toured alongside the Steve Miller Band. Their first box set, which included the singing of both Johnston and McDonald, was released in 1999. In 2010, their 13th studio album, World Gone Crazy, was released.
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Once you've bought Doobie Brothers tickets at StubHub, why not check out some other great bands and events? This year's BluesFest at the O2 Arena in London includes Steely Dan and Nile Rodgers, while the soulful Michael Kiwanuka is touring the UK in October 2017.
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