The Doobie Brothers Albums Ranked

The Doobie Brothers are an American rock band from San Jose, California. Active for five decades, with their greatest success in the 1970s, the group’s current lineup consists of founding members Tom Johnston (guitars, vocals) and Patrick Simmons (guitars, vocals), veteran member Michael McDonald (keyboards, vocals), longtime member John McFee (guitars, pedal steel, violin, backing vocals), and touring musicians including John Cowan (bass, vocals), Bill Payne (keyboards), Marc Russo (saxophones), Ed Toth (drums), and Marc Quiñones (percussion).
The band’s history can be roughly divided into three eras. From 1970 to 1975 it featured lead vocalist Johnston and mainstream rock and roll sound with elements of folk, country, and R&B. Johnston left the group in 1977 due to health reasons and was replaced by Michael McDonald, whose interest in soul music changed the band’s sound until it broke up in 1982 with Simmons being the only constant member has appeared on all of their albums. In 1987, the Doobie Brothers reformed with Johnston back in the fold; McDonald, who had previously made several guest appearances since their reformation, returned to the band full-time in 2019 for their upcoming 50th-anniversary tour. Every incarnation of the group has emphasized vocal harmonies. The Doobie Brothers were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004, and will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on November 7, 2020. The group has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. Founding members John Hartman and Dave Shogren, Tiran Porter, Michael Hossack, Keith Knudsen, and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter are former members of the band. Here are all of The Doobie Brothers albums ranked.

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10. World Gone Crazy (2010)

“This album is a masterpiece in that it really stands on it’s own. Yes, it does contain a couple of older songs, but they are NEWLY recorded, fresh and different versions of those songs. This, combined with the new material, make this a “must have” album for any hard core Doobie Brothers fan, and even for those who are not necessarily “Doobies” fans. What is really amazing is that Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons are both in thier early 60’s, and yet the vocal work on this effort sounds just like it did in the 1970’s when the band was brand new…………perhaps even better now. “

9. Cycles (1989)

“CYCLES, which is the Doobie Brothers’ first CD after getting back together, is a great one, recapturing the gritty ambience which disappeared with Michael McDonald’s arrival in early 1976. The big hit here was “The Doctor”, but there are other great songs here as well, including a remake of the Isley Brothers’ “Need A Little Taste Of Love.” The fact that the band members believe that the young Australian tourist jailed in Indonesia since 2005 for drug-smuggling was unjustly convicted makes CYCLES an essential purchase for both your ears AND your conscience.”

8. Livin’ on the Fault Line (1977)

Livin’ On The Fault Line is quite a prophetic album title for this very musically corporate album, the second release from the second incarnation of the Doobie Brothers and the last that would ever find its way into my collection.  Matter of fact, I held it in my hands just yesterday and looking at the slickness of the album jacket, I couldn’t remember even a single song from this release.”

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7. The Doobie Brothers (1971)

“It is superb of course. This has never been the best album by the band but it shows a nascent bunch of musicians playing their well-crafted songs brilliantly. This album is most enjoyable with hints of blues, rock and country that would manifest itself sublimely over their next four albums. Unlike the band’s relatively inferior albums from 1976 onwards, this fits nicely within the Doobie Brothers’ canon.”

6. Minute by Minute (1978)

“”Minute By Minute”, originally released in December of 1978, was the third official studio album from the Doobie Brothers with Michael McDonald as a member of the band, and I think it’s clear that the third time was the charm, both artistically and commercially–although the previous two albums certainly weren’t without solid commercial success in the US, this one was a bonafide blockbuster, topping the US charts, having gone platinum within the first four months of its original release, and having gone triple-platinum by 1985.”

5. Stampede (1975)

“This album is of variable quality, a facet that is common with most Doobie Brothers albums. There are the usual, somewhat tedious boogie rockers with barely a tune, exemplified by the album’s opener, although that seems to be just what most other Doobie Brothers’ fans like the most! Combine that with some tracks that are quite country and western in style and whilst being very “pleasant”, could be seen as a little insipid. Amongst the ordinary material are what I see as the real jewels, the tracks where the acoustic guitar is at the fore and what is, for me, the Doobie’s strongest area of expertise.”

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4. Takin’ It to the Streets (1976)

“Even though the name “Doobie Brothers” could invoke drug usage by the over-critical, few can deny the magic of their music. A staple of mid 70’s FM radio airplay, the Doobie Brothers earned a well-respective niche in rock. In this debut presentation of the talents of Michael McDonald as spokesman-singer, you hear staple songs of the Doobie’s career. But more important, you hear more obscure tracks that are super-beautiful and cross the division between rock and jazz-fusion.”

3. What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits (1974)

“This is really an underrated album here on RYM.  Not long after it’s release, I liked this album better than The Captain and Me.  Looking at it now, it’s clear to me the TCAM IS their best album, but this is damn close! “Black Water” is one of the coolest tunes to ever crack the top 40, and “Another Park Another Sunday” always makes me feel good. A couple of the tracks were kind of repetitive (“Eyes of Silver” a poor mans “Listen to The Music”;  and “Road Angel” a poor mans “Without You”…it DOES rock though!). The Title track is one of their true hidden gems!  “Down in the Track” really has a great groove, “Pursuit on 53rd St.” really rocks.”

2. Toulouse Street (1972)

“The Doobie Brothers’ made-for-summer Toulouse Street, was issued by Warner Bros in June of 1972. Produced by Ted Templeman, the timeless recording is the second album from the tight California based group. The Tom Johnston-era Doobies is where it’s at, as evident by the ten song Toulouse Street, as well as it’s immediate successors, The Captain and Me (1973) and What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits (1974).”

1. The Captain and Me (1973)

‘This is what made the seventies great, this West Coast funky bluesy folk rock is just perfectly blended. Great songs, great vocals, great harmonies, great musicianship, great songs, commercial enough to have broad appeal,  I can’t really find a chink in the Doobies armour to let any negativity seep through here. The perfect balance of upbeat and mellowness makes for more or less a faultless album. Could they have done better? On this occasion, don’t think so. Just Magic. Long Train Runnin’ and China Grove are the big hitters, but the unhurried Dark Eyed Cajun Woman and the mellow countryish South City, Midnight Lady, relaxed Ukiah and the conga driven The Captain and Me are not far behind.”