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Album: Takin' It To the StreetsReleased: 1976Charted:
This song was written by Doobie Brothers keyboard player and lead singer Michael McDonald, who joined the group when Doobie guitarist Tom Johnson fell ill. The words were partly inspired by an essay McDonald's sister wrote, hence the lyrics, "Take this message to my brother."
The Doobie Brothers took a stand against bootlegging, which is the practice of illegally taping concerts. In 1978 they appeared on the TV show What's Happening!! is a two-part episode ("Doobie Or Not Doobie") where the rotund character Rerun gets coerced into bootlegging one of their shows. At the concert, the group is playing this song when Rerun starts dancing and his tape recorder falls to the ground, exposing his transgression. It ends well though, as they catch the bad guy in the end.
The song was re-recorded by The Doobie Brothers with Nashville duo Love & Theft for their Southbound
album. The record is a collection of the band's greatest hits featuring lead and backing vocals from a multitude of country artists. The group's Tom Johnston
told Rolling Stone
that the mixture of country and rock is a good fit for collaboration. "Country has changed since the days of Hank Williams," he said. "It's taken on a rock tinge. Truthfully, the traditional style of rock and roll has kind of gone away. No one is representing it the way it used to be represented. Country music has sort of picked up the slack. That's why those artists are huge right now."
2006 American Idol
winner Taylor Hicks performed this on the show and recorded it for the B-side of this first single, "Do I Make You Proud?
" (thanks, Sara - Silver Spring, MD)
The Doobie Brothers closed out the 2014 CMA Awards with a performance of this song. They were joined by a collection of Nashville stars including Brad Paisley, Sugarland and Hunter Hayes.