“THE DOOBIES IN THE HALL OF FAME?” That’s a question that’s been asked a bit in the wake of their recent induction into said Hall. There was a version of that question (“Are the Doobie Brothers Hall of Fame Worthy”) on Quora this morning. I answered it there and wanted to share my answer here.
But first, I am not that big a fan of the Doobies. In fact, I kinda hated the original band fronted by Tom Johnston. One of the reasons I may have kinda hated them was that their watered-down version of Jesus Is Just Alright was a bigger hit in 1972 than my faverave band the Byrds’ vastly superior version had been in 1970. 1
But I always liked Michael McDonald’s somewhat strained soul singing. My take on the group has mellowed with age—perhaps yet another sign of incipient Alzheimers on my behalf—and I like a good deal of what made the charts way back in the 1970s and ’80s.
Back to the Quora question. There were already three positive answers to the question, including, “Not only are they worthy, they should have been in twenty years ago!” and “They should have been in the Hall looooong ago!!!!!!!!” 2
The BEST OF THE DOOBIES album was certified by the RIAA for a Diamond Record award signifying 10,000,000 units sold. As the award was made way back in 1996, we can probably assume that all of the units included in the award were actual records and tapes sold in stores. That is, they were not virtual albums made up of accumulated files downloaded or streamed via computer.
The answer to your question
I thought I would echo these sentiments while including a little bit of data, so here is what I contributed:
The Doobies had sixteen Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, two of which were #1.
They have eleven albums that have been certified by the RIAA for Gold or Platinum Record Awards.
If there was an actual set of basic criteria for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Doobies would have passed it a looooong time ago.
Alas, the only criteria for induction are the opinions and, apparently, the moods of the Hall nominators and voters.
PS: The answer to your question is “Duh …”
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is of the Doobie Brothers on the Dutch television show Toppop in January 1974. At the time, they were riding high on the back of two big hit singles, Long Train Runnin’ and China Grove, and a pair of albums that had been certified Gold by the RIAA in 1973, TOULOUSE STREET and THE CAPTAIN AND ME. (Photo by Hans Peters and courtesy of Wikipedia.)
1 Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.
2 Comments courtesy of Anthony Casebeer and Edmund S Villnave, respectively.
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In S.F., where I’m from, there’s always been a suspicion about the Doobies that they were lightweight, yacht rock. The Chronicle reviewer Joel Selvin really slagged them back in the day. I think they wrote “What a Fool Believes” about him! But the Doobies had the last laugh. Still popular. In the HOF.
I prefer the early records, pre-Michael McDonald. There’s a lot of musicality and variety of influence. It’s catchy, but has stood the test of time.
My top three are:
1. Captain And Me
2. Toulouse Street
I saw them live many times, including my first ever concert in 1975. The SNACK Concert at Kezar Stadium in S.F. On a bill with Dylan, Neil Young, Santana, the Dead, and Jefferson Starship, the Doobies got a huge ovation and rocked Kezar with “China Grove.” Pure adolescent sublimity.
Thanks for the comment.
I lived in Napa and St. Helena 1978-1982. Loved the Valley but when you live there, you’re either rich or a peasant and I wasn’t rich.
I used to “hate” the Doobies but then I grew up and reserved my hate for politicians. I now like both versions: I the band was at its best with Johnston but prefer McDonald’s vocals.
As I said, “If there was an actual set of basic criteria for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Doobies would have passed it a looooong time ago.” There still aren’t any criteria but, apparently, the Hall’s nominators/voters were in a good mood last year—at least as far as the Doobies were concerned.
Keep on keepin’ on!
I kinda prefer the Captain and Me period (and I’m not referring to Ms. Tennille). Although perhaps apropos of nothing, there are some interesting historical facts about the band. Their first album was a stiff, but unlike more recent times, wherein the artists were out the door if they didn’t have an immediate hit, the record company believed in them and supported them in their careers.
The original member Tom Johnston almost died (and not from a drug overdose) just a few years into the band’s success and left. By 1981, there were no original members left (!) so they packed it in until reunion time in 1987 when (surprise, surprise) it was discovered there was a great demand for concert tickets and much moolah. I think they have basically been going at it ever since, off and on. Saw them at the local Casino a few years ago and they were pretty good too.
Thanks for the comment. Although I recognized how good the band was, I was not a fan in the beginning because I didn’t care for Johnston’s singing. I have mellowed a wee bit with age and he sounds okay now. I liked the revamped sound with Michael MacDonald. If you haven’t seen the movie No Nukes, put it on your must-see list.
Keep on keepin’ on!
“That’ll make it alright, alright, alright”.
What can I say?
No, these guys are fake, they’re not even related.
I dunno—I understand from at least one source that we’re all kissin’ cousins ...