Earning a reputation as a top-flight singer during his
tenure with Steely Dan in the early 1970’s, by the time he
joined the Doobie Brothers in 1977, Michael McDonald had become
rightfully acknowledged as one of the foremost proponents of blue-eyed
soul. McDonald assumed the helm of the group and for five years
he infused the freewheeling rock band with Soul and R&B influences.
While with the Doobies, McDonald penned and performed such hits
as “Takin’ It to the Streets,” “You Belong
to Me,” and the #1 band hit “What A Fool Believes,”
which provided crossover success for the Doobies on Soul radio stations
across the country.
After a farewell tour signaling the break-up of the Doobie Brothers
in 1982, McDonald released his solo debut, If That’s What
It Takes. Reaching number six on the charts, McDonald saw his single
“I Keep Forgettin’” reach number four, which also
gained crossover exposure on the R&B Top Ten charts. The following
year saw the release of “Yah Mo B There”, a duet with
James Ingram, which reached the Top 20 on U.S. pop charts.
Following the release of his second solo album, No Lookin’
Back in 1985, McDonald’s professional focus shifted away from
solo work, and towards music made with a wide range of other artists.
McDonald and Patti LaBelle reached number one with their duet “On
My Own.” The following years would see McDonald collaborate
with artists such as Aretha Franklin, Christopher Cross, The Winans,
and occasional songwriting partner Kenny Loggins.
Returning to the studio to record new original material, McDonald
released Take It To Heart in 1990. Blink of an Eye followed in 1993.
Both albums were well received by fans.
It wasn’t until a move to Nashville in the late 90’s
that McDonald would sow the seeds for what would become his greatest
musical success to date. Teaming with producer Tommy Sims, in 2002
McDonald recorded Blue Obsession, a beautiful, soulful record that
realigned McDonald’s place in the top tier of adult contemporary
Two years later, McDonald would return to his musical roots with
the concept album, Motown. Reaching into the treasured vaults of
Berry Gordy’s Motown Records, McDonald comprised an album
of covers from some of the most influential American music ever
made. Recording hits and rarities, McDonald affectionately recreated
songs from the catalogs of Motown legends like Diana Ross &
the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, and The Temptations. Released in June
of 2003, Motown proved a creative triumph. So much so that McDonald
was spurned to record a follow-up, Motown Two. Released in October
of 2004, Motown Two was the rare follow-up album that improved upon
its predecessor. This time around, the album included appearances
from special guests Toni Braxton, musical prodigy Billy Preston,
and Motown legend, Stevie Wonder, who helped to bring McDonald’s
excellent musical tribute full circle.