Top 10 Tracks From Doobie Brothers

As many hardcore fans will tell you, there are the Doobie Brothers with Michael McDonald and there are the Doobie Brothers without Michael McDonald. Our list of the band’s best and brightest looks at both of these iterations.

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It was the group’s sophomore album that made them into household names. After the Doobies shared “Listen to the Music,” the pop scape in the ’70s was forever changed. Over the next couple of decades, the group continued its success, creating a legacy few of their rock peers could boast.

Today, we’re going through a few of the band’s greatest offerings for you to revisit. Spanning the length of their tenure, find the Top 10 Doobie Brothers songs below.

10. “It Keeps You Runnin”

Michael McDonald’s influence was paramount in “It Keeps You Runnin.'” Having spent time with Steely Dan prior, the west-coast funk he brought to the group revitalized the Doobies right as they were about to reach a breaking point due to years of non-stop touring and recording schedules.

9. “Dependin’ on You”

Minute by Minute is undoubtedly the Doobies’ premiere album. McDonald is the vocalist on the LP’s biggest cuts, but “Dependin’ on You” sees founding member Patrick Simmons on vocal duties. The mid-tempo hit earned them a spot in the Top 30.

8. “Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me)”

The Doobies’ did Motown’s Kim Weston proud with this cover of “Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me).” The soul hit was originally released by Weston in 1965. Ten years later the rock outfit took it on as the follow-up to their first No. 1 “Black Water.”

7. “Minute by Minute”

“Minute by Minute” captures the band’s laid-back motif perfectly. The breezy song acted as the title track to their only No. 1 album. McDonald adds some bluesy elements into the song via a buoyant organ riff.

6. “Takin’ It to the Streets”

“Takin’ It to the Streets” was McDonald’s first single with the group. It was the catalyst behind McDonald’s eventual frontman status. His soulful voice expanded the group’s reach to pop and R&B audiences.

5. “China Grove”

Of all the great guitar riffs on the Doobie Brothers’ third album, “China Groove” comes out on top. This track sees the band at the heaviest they ever have been, with crackling guitars and a rolling piano. There is a Latin element to this song that is seldom found in other offerings from the group.

4. “Listen to the Music”

“Listen to the Music” earned the Doobies their first Top 40 hit, peaking at No. 11. The shuffling California groove was just the ticket for the ’70s. It played well with the blithe audiences of the era.

3. “Black Water”

“Black Water” was an unlikely pop hit in the ’70s. Featuring an a capella breakdown and a horde of acoustic instruments, the song peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Guitarist Simmons takes on lead vocals here, delivering one of the most chill offerings in the Doobie Brothers’ catalog.

2. “Long Train Runnin'”

This track features one of the band’s best guitar riffs. Like many of the pre-McDonald songs, “Long Train Runnin'” plays like a jam session. Despite being a little loose, it remains of their most lasting hits.

1. “What a Fool Believes”

“What a Fool Believes” clinched the Doobies a couple of Grammys—and for good reason. McDonald’s vocals and keyboard lines have never sounded better than they do here. His reputation as a pop maven was cemented in this track.

Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images

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