Five For Friday: The Doobie Brothers (Yacht Rock)

The transformation of The Doobie Brothers from a "biker-bong-boogie" band to a "yacht rock" band came in 1974 with the arrival of Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (who I once read gained that sobriquet because he never changed his socks) and Michael McDonald from Steely Dan and the departure of founding member Tom Johnston due to illness in 1975. With McDonald came a different, more sophisticated sound, more keyboard oriented than the dual lead guitars of Johnston and Patrick Simmons. The height of their popularity came in the mid-’70’s and early ’80’s.

# Song Comments
1 “Black Water” From their 1974 release What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, this started as a riff Patrick Simmons was playing in the studio. Producer Ted Tempelman liked it and suggested Simmons write a sing around it. It reached #1 on the Hot 100 in 1975.
2 “Takin’ It To The Streets” Title track from their 1976 album, it was written by Michael McDonald, who also sang lead vocal. It reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #7 in Canada.
3 “What A Fool Believes” Written by McDonald and Kenny Loggins, it also appeared on Takin’ It To The Streets and featured McDonald on lead vocals. It was one of the few non-disco songs to reach #1 on the Hot 100 in 1979 and was also #1 in Canada.
4 “Real Love” From the 1980 album One Step Closer and written by McDonald and Patrick Henderson, it’s their third highest-charting single behind “Black Water” and “What A Fool Believes.” It reached #5 on the Hot 100.
5 “You Belong To Me” Written by McDonald and Carly Simon, a studio version appeared on their 1977 album Livin’ On The Fault Line. Simon’s version of the song appeared on her 1978 album Boys In The Trees peaked at #6 on the Hot 100 and earned her the Grammy for Best Female Vocalist in 1979. A live version appeared on The Doobies’ 1983 album Farewell Tour and peaked at #69.

The Doobie Brothers, your Five For Friday, September 11, 2020.

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