Takin' It To the Streets

Album: Takin' It To the Streets (1976)
Charted: 13

Songfacts®:

  • 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?" >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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.

Comments: 9

  • Phil from New JerseyWhat an utterly beautiful double entendres to start the first single off the first new album with a new singer. I agree with a lot of people that this has political overtones but that first line, while fitting with the theme, breaks the forth wall. ‘Hey man, I know we don’t know each other, but...but we do. My name’s Michael...now check out these smooth as ice pipes of mine.’
  • Mike Asbury from Las VegasThis is a protest song about political unrest. Don’t like what you’re government is doing? “Takin it to the street”
  • Gil from Dublin, GeorgiaI totally agree with Bruce-San Jose. I heard it today and was moved by the seemingly Spiritual emotion of the song. Micheal McDonald is a rare incredible talent.
  • Bruce from San Jose, Calif.Just my own interpretation here, so please indulge me ...

    Ever since I first heard the song as a kid ( I was in jr high at the time the song was released), to me the lyrics seemed like the Lord (or one of His Angels visiting incognito to survey things here) coming back to earth and seeing the wretched mess that we humans have made of things here in mortality...

    "You don't know my kind in your world..." ( this world certainly isnt heaven)

    "I ain't blind and I don't like what I see..." (we humans try to justify our sins, but the Lord sees through our excuses)

    Sounds like the Lord/Angel has performed his inspection of the current sorry state of the world, seeing how the people have taken their sinning all full-blown and "takin' it to the streets" — and so NOW, the Lord is going to take his Gospel message out to the streets to remedy that, to save the wretched world...

    (Since this song came out after "Jesus is Just All Right with Me", it seemed that "Takin' it to the Streets" was an appropriate followup song to that...)
  • William from Birmingham, AlSounds almost political to me, but I suppose anything could....very vague and up from the bottom everywhere kind of thing, and now we have to take it to the streets
  • Jorge from Bronx, NyThis band rocks Live,sounding great,and Black Water was my only favorite,when they were together
  • Robin from Rockville, MdThe original lead singer of the Doobies who fell ill was Tom JOHNSTON, not "Johnson."
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaThis marked a shift in the doobie Bros music at the time a more R n B, soul feel, which was a great change..
  • Charles from Charlotte, NcThe LP Taking it to the Streets is excellent. It marked a new sound for the Doobies with McDonald's R&B keyboard style and vocal stylings. Johnson and bass player Tyran Porter also contributed memorable cuts.
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