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Tom Johnston of The Doobie Brothers


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Tom was the original Doobie Brothers lead singer. He fell ill in 1975, which is when Michael McDonald came on. The band broke up in 1982, but reunited with their original members for a benefit show in 1987 and for good in 1989. Tom wrote their hits "Listen To The Music," "Long Train Runnin'" and "China Grove."

I've always found the Tom Johnston-era Doobie Brothers very satisfying: an unpretentious American rock band with a selection of hits that will live on Classic Rock forever, but never get played into the ground. These songs make people feel better.

That 1987 show that reformed the Doobies was a benefit for Vietnam vets. The guys decided it was more fun playing together and making new music than whatever else they might be doing, and their 1989 album Cycles even had a Top-10 hit: "The Doctor." Tom talked about what it's like from his side of the stage: He loves playing live, and knows the songs so well that it's not that difficult for him. For him, live performances are about getting the crowd involved and moving, and he's got a bag of hits that will do it every time. The Doobies also have an arsenal of quality album cuts and some newer material to draw from, giving them all they need for a show the folks love. He didn't make a big deal out of it, but The Doobie Brothers show up at a lot of benefit shows and seem to support veterans when no one is paying attention.

Check out the Interview with Tom Johnston

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