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Songs By The Doobie Brothers
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Songs By The Doobie Brothers

Welcome to my songs by The Doobie Brothers page. You'll you'll find a collection of sample videos, chords sheets, rhythm patterns, some song history and more.

Links to full lessons tutorials are below for a small fee if you need them.

Who Are The Doobie Brothers?

The Doobie Brothers are an American rock band that rose to prominence in the 1970s and has maintained a successful career spanning several decades. The band's music is characterized by its blend of rock, pop, R&B, and soul influences, creating a signature sound that became popular during the 1970s and 1980s.

The band was formed in San Jose, California, in 1970 by guitarist and vocalist Tom Johnston, bassist and vocalist Dave Shogren, guitarist Patrick Simmons, and drummer John Hartman. They gained early success with their second album, "Toulouse Street" (1972), which featured hit songs such as "Listen to the Music" and "Jesus Is Just Alright."

The Doobie Brothers' lineup went through several changes over the years, with Michael McDonald joining the band in the mid-1970s. McDonald's soulful voice and keyboard skills added a new dimension to the band's sound. With McDonald on board, the Doobie Brothers achieved even greater success with albums like "Takin' It to the Streets" (1976), "Livin' on the Fault Line" (1977), and "Minute by Minute" (1978).

Some of the band's most well-known songs include:

  • "Listen to the Music"
  • "Black Water"
  • "China Grove"
  • "Long Train Runnin'"
  • "Takin' It to the Streets"
  • "What a Fool Believes"
  • "Minute by Minute"
  • "Jesus Is Just Alright"

The Doobie Brothers went on hiatus in the early 1980s but reunited in various forms throughout the years. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.

Their music continues to be celebrated for its catchy melodies, tight harmonies, and diverse musical influences, making The Doobie Brothers one of the iconic bands of the classic rock era.

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Songs By The Doobie Brothers
Chords, Lyrics, Rhythm Tips, Tutorials

1. Black Water

black water the doobie brothers

Black Water was a big hit for the band. It was one of their two songs that reached number one on the charts in the United States. The other one was "What A Fool Believes." This happened back in 1974 when they released this single.

This track can also be found  on their album called "What Were Once Vices And Now Habits." This song has a catchy tune and is loved by many fans of The Doobie Brothers.

The Doobie Brothers made a music video for "Black Water," which was quite popular when it aired on TV. The video showed the band playing the song and having a good time.

"Black Water" is a special song for The Doobie Brothers because it blends different musical styles like rock, pop, and country. This mix of sounds helped make it a hit and a favorite for fans of the band.

I play this one in Drop D Tuning in standard tuning. The rhythm follows a down up down up - up down up and with the use of arpeggio picking. There is a bit of lead you can jam into this one while playing the rhythm. The chords you'll need are Am7, D, G, A#, A and an Em.

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2. China Grove

china grove the doobie brothers

China Grove hails from their album "The Captain And Me" in 1973. It did pretty well, reaching number 15 on the Billboard charts. But here's an interesting fact: the song is about a made-up place, not a real one.

Tom Johnston, one of the band members, wrote the song about a town called China Grove. However, it turns out that the band had actually passed through a real place called China Grove on their way to a concert in San Antonio. Tom didn't realize it at the time, but the name stuck in his head.

So, even though "China Grove" isn't about a real town, it became a hit for The Doobie Brothers. It's a catchy tune that many fans enjoy, and it's a fun example of how sometimes songs can be inspired by both real and imaginary places.

This one can be played using the chords D, C, B, G, Bm, A, G#, A#, Em, Esus E and Gb with Drop D tuning. There is some acoustic lead in this one and I play it with a capo on the 2nd fret. For rhythm I'm playing down strokes and then switching to up and down strokes. The full lesson will show other rhythm sections needed in this song 

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3. I Keep Forgetting

i keep forgetting michael mcdonald of the doobie brothers

I Keep Forgetting is a song that Michael McDonald released as a single in 1982. It was from his first solo album called "If That's What It Takes" after he left The Doobie Brothers.

Before leaving the band for good, Michael McDonald performed "I Keep Forgetting" with The Doobie Brothers during their concerts. The song did really well, reaching number four on the charts. It's a popular tune that many people enjoy listening to, showcasing McDonald's talent as a singer and songwriter.

You can use standard tuning in this one with the chords Em, D, Cmaj7, Am7, Bm, D7sus, G#, G, Adim and Gbm. There is no lead needed in this lesson which uses a down down down up down up rhythm pattern.

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4. Jesus Is Just Alright

jesus is just alright the doobie brothers

Jesus Is Just Alright was originally a gospel song written by The Art Reynolds Singers and first released in 1966. The Byrds also did their version in 1969.

Then in 1972, The Doobie Brothers gave it their own twist, adding a bit of rock style to the song for their album "Toulouse Street." This version became quite popular and made its way into the top 40 charts. It's a unique blend of gospel and rock that fans of The Doobie Brothers really enjoy.

For rhythm here you'll use a quick shuffle strum and some bass/lead as you thru the piece in standard tuning. The chords I use here are Am, E7, C, D7 ... (E7 can be played as B7 formation on 7th with b string on 8th) Slide means to slide everything up 1 fret except the b string – stay on 8 th). You'll do a bit of lead in this song.

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5. Listen To The Music

listen to the music the doobie brothers

Listen To The Music was written by Tom Johnston, who imagined world leaders sitting on a hill, enjoying some weed, and forgetting about all the troubles in the world while just listening to music.

The song comes from the 1972 album "Toulouse Street" and became The Doobie Brothers' first major hit. It reached number 11 on the charts in the United States and number 3 in Canada. Fans love this song for its catchy tune and feel-good vibe, making it a classic from The Doobie Brothers' early days.

Drop D tuning comes in handy here with a capo on the 3rd fret. The rhythm is pretty much a steady shuffle with a few stops and a few bass runs for effect. There is no lead required while using the chords D, G, Bm, A, E and C.

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6. Long Train Running

long train running the doobie brothers

Long Train Running was released as a single in 1973 from their album "The Captain And Me." It reached number 8 on the US Rock Chart.

Interestingly, the band had been playing this song for a while as a warm-up jam without any real lyrics or meaning. Then, Tom Johnston was encouraged to write lyrics for it and turn it into a full song. It turned out to be great advice, as "Long Train Running" became a hit loved by many fans.

For rhythm, this one uses a quick shuffle and hammer on's as described in the video lesson while playing the chords Am, Dm, F, Esus and E. The is a bit of lead work here in my version.

Chords & Lyrics


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7. Rockin' Down The Highway

rockin down the highway the doobie brothers

Rockin Down The Highway is a song written by Tom Johnston for The Doobie Brothers' 1972 album "Toulouse Street."

Even though it wasn't released as a single, this song has become a favorite among fans, especially at their concerts. It's a high-energy tune that gets the crowd rocking and showcases the band's signature sound of rock with a touch of country and blues.

This one can be played in standard tuning and pretty much with a a steady up and down rhythm pattern, except for a few picking sequences. The chords you'll need are A, G, D, F, E, Gbm, Dbm and a Bm.

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8. South City Midnight Lady

south city midnight lady the doobie brothers

South City Midnight Lady hails from The Doobie Brothers' 1973 album "The Captain And Me."

Although it was not released as a single, this song has become a favorite among fans of the band. It's a soulful and heartfelt tune that showcases the band's musical talent and ability to create evocative melodies.

.Played in standard tuning you'll need a steady down up down up rhythm pattern for this song. There is no lead in this while playing the chords G, D, C, G6, A#, Am7, Eb and F.

Chords & Lyrics


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9. Tell Me What You Want

tell me what you want the doobie brothers

Tell Me What You Want is a track from the 1974 album Doobie Brothers album "What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits". This album released several singles, but this song was not one of them.

This song is played with open G tuning, however I don't teach open tuning songs, so the chords I'm using here are what I'm heading as an alternative. The rhythm pattern is a down down  up down up down up and repeat kinda vibe. I'm in standard tuning using the chords D/G, C/G, F/A, G, Gmaj7, Gsus and a C.

Chords & Lyrics


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Thank you for visiting my songs by The Doobie Brothers page and with sample videos, free chord sheets and some tips on playing various songs by The Doobies. I hope this info was helpful. Next time you're at a party and someone yells to play Doobie Brothers songs, you'll be prepared. 

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