When Michael McDonald joined the band for the Takin' It To The Streets
album, the plan was to have guitarist Patrick Simmons handle the lead vocals, which he did quite capably on their #1 hit "Black Water
." McDonald was expected to play keyboards and sing backup, which was his role in Steely Dan. It was Simmons who pushed to get McDonald out in front, telling their producer, Ted Templeman, they had a great singer sitting right there in the studio. So Templeman asked McDonald to sing one of the songs he had written, and McDonald belted out "Taking It To The Streets." That was all Templeman needed to hear to instill him as lead singer.