October 1976: The Doobie Brothers Release BEST OF THE DOOBIES

Thursday, October 28, 2021

The year 1976 was a tumultuous one for The Doobie Brothers. Years of relentless touring had taken a heavy toll on longtime bandleader, Tom Johnston. Diagnosed with stomach ulcers, he was forced to sit out most of the sessions for the Takin' It to the Streets album, released in March 1976.

Guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter recruited some major reinforcements in the shape of fellow Steely Dan alumni, Michael McDonald. In turn, McDonald ended up contributing mightily to the effort, penning two of the album’s singles: "It Keeps You Runnin’" and the title track, with the latter peaking at No. 13 on the Hot 100. While the group contemplated its next move, the time was ideal to release a greatest hits collection, with Best of the Doobies hitting record store shelves on October 29, 1976.

"It was all based around this somewhat Utopian view of the world," Tom Johnston later explained of "Listen to the Music," the band's first big hit song in 1972. "The idea was that music would lift man up to a higher plane, and that world leaders, if they were able to sit down on some big grassy knoll where the sun was shining and hear music - such as the type I was playing - would figure out that everybody had more in common than they had not in common, and it was certainly not worth getting in such a bad state of affairs about. Everybody in the world would therefore benefit from this point of view. Just basically that music would make everything better. And of course I've since kind of realized it doesn't work that way."

Spanning tracks from 1972's Toulouse Street through Takin’ It to the Streets, the collection was a smash, featuring the FM radio hits that made the band famous. A big seller over the holiday season, Best of the Doobies peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200 over the week of January 22, 1977. The #1 LP in America that week: Paul McCartney and Wings' Wings Over America.

FUN FACT: Best of the Doobies is a Diamond certified album by the RIAA, meaning it has sold in excess of 10 million copies.