Michael McDonald, the soulful singer and talented songwriter and keyboardist who found success with The Doobie Brothers, as a solo artist and as a collaborator with various other musicians and singers, celebrates his 70th birthday this Saturday, February 12.
In 1974, McDonald briefly was a member of Steely Dan‘s touring band. He would go on to contribute backing vocals to all of Steely Dan’s albums, from 1975’s Katy Lied through 1980’s Gaucho.
McDonald joined The Doobie Brothers in 1975. During his tenure with the group, Michael sang and wrote or co-wrote some of the band’s biggest hits, including “Takin’ It to the Streets,” “Real Love,” “Minute by Minute” and the chart-topping “What a Fool Believes.” The latter, which McDonald co-wrote with Kenny Loggins, also won multiple Grammy awards, including Song of the Year and Record of the Year.
After The Doobie Brothers’ 1982 breakup, Michael launched a successful solo career. Among his solo hits are 1982’s “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)” and 1986’s “Sweet Freedom.”
McDonald also lent backing vocals to notable tunes by other artists, including Loggins’ 1979 hit “This Is It,” which he co-wrote, and Christopher Cross‘ 1981 #2 single “Ride Like the Wind.” In addition, he scored hit duets including the Grammy-winning “Yah Mo B There” with James Ingram in 1983, and the chart-topping “On My Own” with Patti LaBelle in 1986.
McDonald was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Doobie Brothers in 2020.
McDonald has reunited with The Doobies several times over the years after the band’s initial breakup. Starting last year, Michael rejoined the group to take part in their 50th anniversary tour, which gets underway again in June.
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