Considerable assumptions, half truths, and flat out wrong fantasies remain in the conventional wisdom surrounding the making of Minute by Minute by the Doobie Brothers, one of the Seventies’ most popular albums, so much so that for the 35th anniversary of that #1-selling, four Grammy Award-grabbing Album of the Year 1978, we gathered four Doobie Brothers who were actually there In the Studio when it was made: founders Pat Simmons, Tom Johnston, John Hartman of the San Jose CA band with singer/ songwriter/ keyboard player Michael McDonald. Sure, everybody knows that then-unknown singer/songwriter McDonald had replaced popular Doobie co-founder Johnston just days before recording started on their 1976 album Takin’ It to the Streets . But why? And everybody remembers that it worked, selling Top 10, but who remembers that the follow-up Livin’ on the Fault Line with the same line up and producer was the first Doobie Brothers album since Toulouse Street not to go platinum?
In spite of containing the songs” Here to Love You”,”Minute by Minute”,”Open Your Eyes”,”Dependin’ on You”,”Don’t Stop to Watch the Wheels”,and the Grammy Song of the Year and Record of the Year ” What a Fool Believes”, at least one top executive at their record company predicted that Minute by Minute “…would be the final nail in their coffin”, quotes Michael McDonald with a chuckle.
Patrick Simmons (l ) and Tom Johnston ( r ) join former drummer Hartman plus superstar McDonald here In the Studio to set the record straight about 1978’s Grammy Album of the Year, the biggest seller in the long illustrious ( but still Hall of Fame denied) career of one of America’s most beloved bands.-Redbeard