The Doobie Brothers Inducted into the Ultimate Classic Rock Hall of Fame
The people have spoken, the votes have been counted, and now we know for sure what happens when a long train runnin’ full of black water meets a sharp dressed man with a velcro fly.
The Doobie Brothers have officially been inducted into the Ultimate Classic Rock Hall of Fame, and it wasn’t even close: their opponents in the final round of voting, ZZ Top, only managed to muster up a little more than 35 percent of the vote, leaving the Doobies with a whopping 64.35 percent.
These picks tend to be controversial for the UCR faithful, and finding out that more fans turned out for the Doobie Brothers than ZZ Top is bound to be traumatic for a few readers. But you can always take the edge off by listening to any of the Doobies’ 13 studio albums, from their 1971 self-titled debut to their most recent effort, 2010’s well-received ‘World Gone Crazy.’ Along the way, there have been a number of stylistic shifts (as well as too many lineup changes to go into here) — and for some of us, that’s a big part of the band’s enduring appeal.
Founded in 1970 by drummer John Hartman, bassist Dave Shogren, and guitarists/songwriters Tom Johnston and Pat Simmons, the Doobies found their commercial footing with their second LP, 1972’s ‘Toulouse Street,’ which featured the hits ‘Listen to the Music’ and ‘Jesus Is Just Alright.’ By this point, Shogren had already left the band, replaced by Tiran Porter, and the lineup was further augmented by the addition of second drummer Michael Hossack, creating a loose blend of rock, country, and R&B that produced a string of bestselling albums and singles throughout the ’70s.
Even as the band’s commercial profile continued to rise, membership turnover remained a fact of life for the Doobies, with various Brothers coming and going on a more or less constant basis. Johnston’s health-mandated departure in 1975 led to the fateful addition of keyboardist and singer Michael McDonald, whose distinctive vocals (and knack for writing hit records) triggered a major shift in the band’s sound, epitomized in 1978’s massively successful ‘Minute by Minute’ LP, which featured the Grammy-winning smash ‘What a Fool Believes.’ But by the early ’80s, Simmons decided to leave the group, prompting a five-year hiatus between 1982-’87.
In the late ’80s, with McDonald established as a solo artist, the Doobies reconvened with their classic ‘Toulouse Street’-era lineup, scoring an unlikely comeback hit ‘The Doctor’ from their 1989 reunion album, ‘Cycles.’ And although they’ve recorded sporadically since, releasing only three studio albums since 1991, they’ve remained a steady live draw with a multi-generational fanbase — one that clearly turned out in droves for our Ultimate Classic Rock Hall of Fame elections.