Top 10 Doobie Brothers Albums

Doobie Brothers Albums

Photo: David Gest & Associates (the band’s publicity agents) [Public domain]

Our Top 10 Doobie Brothers albums list takes a look at the catalog of one of the most loved bands in rock and roll history. There are two types of Doobie Brothers fans. There are those that love everything that the Doobie Brothers have done over the years including the lines up that included the original Doobie Brothers and the lineups that included Michael McDonald in the mid to late 1970s. Of course, there are fans that never liked the Michael McDonald years as the sound of the Doobie Brothers changed dramatically with the addition of Michael McDonald. It was a sound that helped the band score some of the most successful albums and singles of their career. It was also a sound that tilted more towards a pop-rock soul sound as opposed to the straight-ahead rock sound of the earlier days,

We will always be in the camp that has enjoyed everything the Doobie Brothers have recorded throughout the years. Personally, I enjoy listening to the Stampede or Toulouse Street albums as much as I enjoy listening to Takin’ It To The Streets or Minute by Minute albums. All of these were great rock albums that defined the ultimate levels of musicianship, performance, and composition.

The Doobie Brothers released fourteen studio albums throughout their career. The first album was released on April 30th, 1971 entitled The Doobie Brothers. They followed that album up with Toulouse Street which was released a little over a year later in July of 1972. The band celebrated their first top 10 album in 1973 with the release of the great record The Captain and Me. Even more, success was waiting for the Doobie Brothers in 1974 when they released the album What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits. The album hit number four on the Billboard Hot 100 containing their number one single “Black Water.” Their next record entitled Stampede was released in 1975. That album also hit number four on the Billboard Top 100.

The Michael McDonald era began in 1976 when Michael McDonald joined the band for the release of their classic record Takin’ It To The Streets. The album would once again score the Doobie Brothers a top 10 record on the Billboard Hot 100 albums charts. The Doobie Brothers followed up their Takin’ It To The Streets album with the record Living On The Fault Line released during the summer of 1977. The album was not as successful as the previous one but still reached the top 10 just barely creeping in at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 album charts.

In 1978, The Doobie Brothers released the most successful album of their career. The album entitled Minute by Minute reached number one on the United States Billboard Hot 100 album charts. It was the band’s most successful record worldwide. Even though it was a tough record to follow up, the Doobie Brothers did a pretty decent job with that in 1980 when they released the album One Step Closer which reached all the way to number three on the Billboard Hot 100. It would be the last Doobie Brothers album released with Michael McDonald in the band.

Almost a decade went by until the Doobie Brothers released a new record. In 1989, The Doobie Brothers released the record Cycles. They returned once again two years later with the album Brotherhood.  Another long stretch of time would pass by once again until the next Doobie Brothers record was released. At the turn of the 20th century, The Doobie Brothers released the album Sibling Rivalry. The ten-year period in between albums seemed to start being the norm for the Doobie Brothers as Sibling Rivalry was followed up ten years later in 2010 with the album World Gone Crazy. An album that many old-school Doobie Brothers fans were very happy with. As of this writing in 2020, World Gone Crazy is the last album of new material released by the Doobie Brothers. In 2014, the band released the album Southbound. However, it was an album of duets with mostly country artists filled with remakes of the Doobie Brothers classic.

# 10 – One Step Closer

Doobie Brothers Albums One Step Closer

We open up our top 10 Doobie Brothers albums list with the album One Step Closer. The album was released in the fall of 1980 and was recorded at Warner Brothers Studios in North Hollywood, California. It is the final album to feature Michael McDonald. The record did well commercially. One Step Closer reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 album charts. The album also yielded the hit single “Real Love,” which peaked at number five on the Billboard Top 100. The song featured lead vocals by Michael McDonald.

The One Step Closer album showcased a Doobie Brothers lineup incuding Patrick Simmons on guitars, lead and backing vocals, John McFee also on guitars and providing backing vocals, Michael McDonald on keyboards, synthesizers, and contributing lead and backing vocals. Cornelius Bumpus on tenor and soprano saxophones, organ, and backing vocals. The rhythm section was anchored by Tiran Porter on bass, with Keith Knudsen and Chet McCracken on drums, the latter also playing vibraphone and marimbas, creating a well-rounded and dynamic musical experience.

# 9 – Cycles

Doobie Brothers Albums Cycles

The Doobie Brothers’ album Cycles was actually the follow-up to One Step Closer. The band did release a live album between the two records, Farewell Tour, which was released in 1983. Nonetheless, the album Cycles was a welcome return for fans of the Doobie Brothers. The album’s opening track, “The Doctor, presented fans with that old-school Doobie Brothers sound. Cycles is the tenth studio release by the The Doobie Brothers, making its debut on May 17, 1989, under Capitol Records. Opting to return to their roots, the lineup for this album mirrored that of their 1972-74 era.

The album’s title, Cycles, was inspired by an unreleased song penned by Tiran Porter, who would later record it for his 1995 solo project, Playing To An Empty House. The lead single, “The Doctor,” achieved commercial success, reaching No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and securing the top position on the Mainstream Rock Chart.

The lineup for this long awaited album included Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons on guitars and vocals, with lead vocals shared across various tracks, Tiran Porter on bass and backing vocals, John Hartman and Michael Hossack on drums and percussion, and Bobby LaKind on percussion and backing vocals. The album also saw contributions from an array of additional musicians, including multiple keyboardists like Bill Payne, Dave Tyson, and others, Don Frank on electronic drums, and The Memphis Horns, consisting of Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love, with Rem Smiers on keytar, adding depth to the album’s sound.

# 8 – World Gone Crazy

Doobie Brothers Albums World Gone Crazy

Released in the autumn of 2010, World Gone Crazy marked a significant moment for The Doobie Brothers, ending a long hiatus between albums. Fans of the band were eagerly anticipating its release and were not disappointed. As the thirteenth studio album from the American rock legends, it made a notable debut at number 39 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart, marking their highest charting position since 1989. The lead single from the album was a fresh take on “Nobody,” their debut single from 1971, bringing a sense of nostalgia mixed with new energy.

Notably, World Gone Crazy was the first album by The Doobie Brothers to be produced by Ted Templeman since the Farewell Tour album twenty-seven years prior. Templeman had been a key figure in the production of nearly every Doobie Brothers album up to that point, making his return a notable aspect of this release.

The lineup for World Gone Crazy featured Tom Johnston and Pat Simmons, both on lead and backing vocals, acoustic and electric guitars. John McFee contributed with his backing vocals, and an array of instruments including acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, mandolin, and violin, alongside his work on drums and percussion. Michael Hossack rounded out the rhythm section with his expertise on drums and percussion.

# 7 – The Doobie Brothers

Doobie Brothers Albums

Continuing with our top 10 Doobie Brothers albums list we turn to the band’s debut album simply titled The Doobie Brothers. Released in 1971 the album kind of got lost in the shuffle among all the classic records released that year. 1971 was fueled by albums such as Led Zeppelin IV,  Fragile by Yes, Who’s Next by The Who, The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, and Elton John’s Madman Across the Water. The Doobie Brothers’ debut album did not chart that high and yielded no hit singles. Nonetheless, it was still a great record and defined a new sound that rock fans would soon fall in love with.

# 6 – Stampede

Doobie Brothers Albums Stampede

Released in 1975, Stampede stands out as one of The Doobie Brothers’ most celebrated albums, with the hit single “Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)” driving its success. This album holds a special place in the hearts of fans, not only for its music but also for its distinctive album cover, making it a favorite among The Doobie Brothers’ discography. Jeff “Skunk” Baxter’s exceptional performance on this record is particularly noteworthy.

Stampede, the band’s fifth studio album, was launched on April 25, 1975, by Warner Bros. Records. It marked a pivotal moment in the band’s history, being the last album before Michael McDonald took over from Tom Johnston as the lead vocalist and main songwriter. The lineup for this significant album included Tom Johnston on guitars and providing both lead and backing vocals, Patrick Simmons also on guitars and vocals, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter on guitars and pedal steel guitar, Tiran Porter on bass guitar and backing vocals, John Hartman and Keith Knudsen on drums and percussion, with Knudsen also contributing backing vocals and co-lead vocals on “Double Dealin’ Four Flusher”.

Though not an official member of the band, Bill Payne made substantial contributions to the album, playing piano and keyboards on most tracks, adding depth and texture to the band’s sound on Stampede.

# 5 – Minute By Minute

Doobie Brothers Albums Minute By Minute

While some old school Doobie Brothers fans may not have been happy with the sound of the band during this period, millions of other music fans fell in love with this album and the harmonies and lead vocals that Michael McDonald brought to the Doobie Brothers. There’s no denying the commercial success of this record. The album’s lead single, “What A Fool Believes,” was a pure R&B rock gem. The song hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100. It also received two Grammy Awards for Song Of The Year and Record of the Year in 1980. Michael McDonald sang lead vocals on the track. Interestingly, one of the songs that it defeated in the Song of The Year category for the Grammy Awards in 1980 was the album’s title track, “Minute By Minute.” 

# 4 – The Captain and Me

Doobie Brothers Albums The Captain and Me

As we continue our top 10 Doobie Brothers albums article we are getting into some real classic Doobie Brothers records. The Captain and Me was one of those legendary Doobie Brothers albums. The album contained the big hits “Long Train Runnin,” and “China Grove.” These are two of the biggest Doobie Brothers songs ever released. When you think of old-school Doobie Brothers you think of these two songs. The album The Captain and Me was released in 1972

# 3 – What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits

Doobie Brothers Albums What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits

We always loved the title of this great Doobie Brothers album, Were Once Vices are Now Habits. The Doobie Brothers’ classic album Were Once Vices Are Now Habits was released in the winter of 1974. The album’s lead single, “Another Park, Another Sunday,” was released in March of 74. That single was followed up with “Eyes of Silver” in June of 74. However, the album’s third single, entitled “Black Water,” which was not released until November of 1974, became one of the band’s biggest songs ever recorded. “Black Water” would become the Doobie Brothers’ first number-one single. The success of the songs helped skyrocket album sales of the great album Were Once Vices Are Now Habits

# 2 – Takin’ It To The Streets

Doobie Brothers Albums Takin' It To The Streets 

The first time I dropped a needle on this record back in 1976, the sound blew me away when I heard the album’s opening track, “Wheels of Fortune,” stands as one of the best-sounding tracks on vinyl I have ever heard. However, it wasn’t just the sound production that blew me away. It was the groove, the spirit, the soul of this record. It Continued on throughout the entire album. To any of those Doobie Brothers fans who say they did not like the Michael McDonald era, I encourage them to take a listen to this record once again. This was a great one!

# 1 – Toulouse Street 

Doobie Brothers Albums  Toulouse Street 

We close out our top 10 Doobie Brothers albums article with the band’s second album, released in 1972, entitled Toulouse Street. This legendary album opened up with one of the greatest Doobie Brothers songs of all time called “Listen To The Music.” the album also contains the great songs”Rockin’ Down the Highway” and Jesus is Just Alright. These were all songs written by Patrick Simmons and Tom Johnston. This is vintage Doobie Brothers defining what they did best.

The Doobie Brothers Albums Discography (Studio albums)

This list does not include any of the live albums The Doobie Brothers released. It also does not include any box sets or greatest hits packages This is just a listing of the complete studio albums The Doobie Brothers released in chronological order.

The Doobie Brothers (1971)

Doobie Brothers Albums

Toulouse Street (1972)

Doobie Brothers Albums

The Captain and Me (1973)

Doobie Brothers Albums

What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits (1974)

Doobie Brothers Albums

Stampede (1975)

Doobie Brothers Albums

Takin’ It To The Streets (1976)

Doobie Brothers Albums

Livin’ On The Fault Line (1977)

Doobie Brothers Albums

Minute By Minute (1978)

Doobie Brothers Albums

One Step Closer (1980)

Doobie Brothers Albums

Cycles (1989)

Doobie Brothers Albums

Brotherhood (1991)

Doobie Brothers Albums

Sibling Rivalry (2001)

Doobie Brothers Albums

World Gone Crazy (2010)

Doobie Brothers Albums

Southbound (2014)

Liberté (2021)

Top 10 Doobie Brothers Albums article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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