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10 Best Doobie Brothers Songs

The best Doobie Brothers songs include tunes with rock, bluegrass, funk and soul influences. The Doobies -- none of whom were actually brothers -- formed in California in 1969 and recorded 'Black Water,' 'China Grove' and some of the best classic rock hits of the '70s. When singer Tom Johnston experienced health problems in 1975, the Doobies brought in Michael McDonald and moved in a more soulful direction. The McDonald era resulted in some of the best Doobie Brothers songs yet, including 'What a Fool Believes' and 'Minute by Minute.'
'Nobody' (Re-recorded Version From New 2010 Album)
In September 2010 the Doobie Brothers will release 'World Gone Crazy,' their first studio album in 10 years. The lead single is a re-recording of the band's first 1971 hit, 'Nobody,' a catchy, up-tempo rock song. According to producer Ted Templeman, the new version aims to correct some of the faults of the original, which still remains a popular track among Doobies fans.
'Rockin' Down the Highway'
A track from the Doobies' 1972 album 'Toulouse Street,' 'Rockin' Down the Highway' featured simple lyrics about cruising on the open road with no cares, making it an ideal road trip song. Though never released as a single, 'Rockin' Down the Highway' was a live favorite over the years, and earned a place as one of the 10 best Doobie Brothers songs.
'Jesus Is Just Alright'
One of the few Doobie Brothers songs the band didn't write, 'Jesus is Just Alright' was written as a gospel song by Arthur Reid Reynolds in the mid-'60s, and first became a hit for the Byrds. The cover was an unusual choice for the Doobies, whom Johnston said were neither pro- nor anti-religion, but their version found an audience and cracked the Top 40.
Doobie Brothers Jesus Is Just Alright
'Takin' It to the Streets'
The first single the Doobies released after Michael McDonald joined the lineup in 1975, 'Takin' It to the Streets' revealed the band's new direction. The infectious song blended McDonald's blue-eyed soul with a funky bassline, a horn solo and the band's trademark harmonies. The McDonald-penned track delivered a positive message about brotherhood and understanding in a troubled society.
'Minute by Minute'
The title track from the Doobie Brothers' most successful album, 'Minute by Minute' was a laid-back song built around McDonald's smooth baritone voice. McDonald sings of clinging to a relationship with a seemingly disinterested woman: "Minute by minute, I keep holding on." Written by McDonald and producer-arranger Lester Abrams, the song helped the 'Minute by Minute' album achieve triple-platinum status.
'Long Train Runnin''
Johnston didn't want to record 'Long Train Runnin',' a song the band had played live for three years, believing it was too simple and a "throwaway" song. Templeman persuaded him to give the song a shot, so Johnston wrote new lyrics, including the chorus hook, "Without love, where would you be now?" In 1973 the song became the Doobie Brothers' first Top 10 hit.
'What a Fool Believes'
Throughout 1979 the No. 1 spot was dominated by disco acts, but the Doobies managed to top the charts for a week with 'What a Fool Believes,' a song co-written by McDonald and Kenny Loggins. The slick, R&B-influenced track with a bouncy piano captured some of music's highest honors, winning Grammy Awards for both Record and Song of the Year.
Doobie Brothers What A Fool Believes
'China Grove'
Driven by a memorable guitar riff, 'China Grove' was the second single from the Doobie Brothers' 1973 record 'The Captain and Me.' Johnston wrote the hard-rocking song, and its lyrics about Samurai sword-wielding police in a small Texas town, after being told by Templeman to write something Asian-sounding. The song's many pop culture appearances include 'The Simpsons' and 'Entourage.'
Doobie Brothers China Grove
'Listen to the Music'
With a radio-friendly melody, a catchy guitar lick and a pleasant chorus showing off the band's harmony vocals, 'Listen to the Music' was the band's first hit, reaching No. 11 in 1972 thanks to its "music can save the world" message. The Isley Brothers recorded a funk soul version, featured on their 1973 album '3 + 3.'
Doobie Brothers Listen To The Music
'Black Water'
Guitarist Patrick Simmons wrote and sang lead on the mostly-acoustic 'Black Water.' Templeman suggested adding an a cappella interlude, which put a greater focus on the song's signature line, "I'd like to hear some funky Dixieland / Pretty mama, come and take me by the hand." Initially a B-side, the bluegrass -and rock-fused 'Black Water' became the band's first chart-topper in 1975 and, ultimately, the best Doobie Brothers song ever.

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