The Doobie Brothers are an Official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominee for the Class of 2020

The Doobie Brothers

Eligible year:
Number of nominations:
Nominated in:
  • Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter
  • John Hartman
  • Michael Hossack
  • Tom Johnston
  • Keith Knudsen
  • Michael McDonald
  • John McFee
  • Tiran Porter
  • Patrick Simmons

With their hard-rocking rhythms, dual drummer power, and tight three-part vocal harmonies, the Doobie Brothers have been a mainstay in the rock & roll landscape for nearly five decades.


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The Doobie Brothers got their start in Northern California, where Tom Johnston’s chugging guitar rhythms, John Hartman’s energetic drumming, and the fingerpicking guitar style of Patrick Simmons combined to create a unique groove that mixed diverse influences from rock, R&B, and country. Bassist Tiran Porter and drummer Mike Hossack joined the band, and the group broke out on radio stations nationwide with their utopian rock anthem “Listen to the Music” in 1972. The Doobie Brothers continued to release guitar-driven hits, including such classics as “Long Train Runnin’” (1973) and “China Grove” (1973). But they also were no strangers to experimentation; their first #1 single, “Black Water” (1975), drew on folk and bluegrass, pushing the boundaries of their hard rock style.

Personnel changes in the mid-1970s led the band to explore even more sounds and textures. The addition of guitar virtuoso Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and drummer Keith Knudsen cemented the three-guitar two-drum lineup that would become a hallmark of the Doobie sound. Michael McDonald took over on lead vocals and keyboard in 1975, leading the band in yet another new musical direction with his slick, soul-inspired songwriting. With McDonald, the Doobie Brothers won four Grammy awards, producing their smash hit single “What a Fool Believes” (1978) and the multi-platinum album Minute by Minute (1978). Multi-instrumentalist John McFee replaced Baxter in the late 1970s, bringing even more musical diversity to the band.

After a brief hiatus in the mid-1980s, the band reunited, returning to their signature rock sound. Throughout their career, they have sold over 48 million records worldwide and charted five Top 10 singles. Almost fifty years since their original formation, the Doobie Brothers continue to perform their feel-good rock hits alongside brand new tunes, giving generations of fans a chance to “Listen to the Music.”

Selected discography

“Nobody” The Doobie Brothers (1971) • “Listen to the Music” Toulouse Street (1972) • “Long Train Runnin’,” “China Grove” The Captain and Me (1973) • “Black Water” What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits (1974) • “Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me),” “I Cheat the Hangman” Stampede (1975) • “Takin’ It to the Streets” Takin’ It to the Streets (1976) • “What a Fool Believes” Minute by Minute (1979) • “The Doctor” Cycles (1989) • “World Gone Crazy” World Gone Crazy (2010)

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