Michael McDonald

Michael McDonald is a renowned singer, songwriter, and keyboardist known for his distinctive, soulful voice and contributions to rock, pop, and R&B music. His career spans several decades, during which he has achieved significant success as a solo artist and as a member of prominent bands.

Early Life and Beginnings

Birth Michael McDonald was born on February 12, 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri.

McDonald began his music career performing in local bands in St. Louis before moving to Los Angeles to pursue greater opportunities including joining The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan

Steely Dan (1974-1975)

Albums Contributed to albums such as "Katy Lied" (1975) and "The Royal Scam" (1976).

McDonald’s smooth backing vocals and keyboard skills added a unique layer to Steely Dan’s complex sound. Donald Fagan said…

I wanted Michael to sing lead with Steely Dan but I was over-ruled

The Doobie Brothers (1975-1982, 1987, 2019-present)

Albums Key albums include "Takin' It to the Streets" (1976), "Livin' on the Fault Line" (1977), and "Minute by Minute" (1978).

Hits Famous songs such as "Takin' It to the Streets," "What a Fool Believes," and "Minute by Minute" showcased his signature sound

1980s: Solo Success

"If That's What It Takes" (1982)

Details McDonald’s debut solo album featured hits like "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)" and "I Gotta Try."

"No Lookin' Back" (1985)

Details The album included the title track and further established him as a solo artist.

Collaborations Worked with numerous artists, including Kenny Loggins on the hit "This Is It."

1990s: Continued Solo Career and Collaborations

"Blink of an Eye" (1993)~

Details The album featured a blend of pop, rock, and R&B, continuing his solo success.

Collaborations Worked with artists like Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, and Toto, contributing his vocal and keyboard talents.

2000s: Return to Roots and Further Success

Motown Series

Albums Released "Motown" (2003) and "Motown Two" (2004), featuring covers of classic Motown hits.

Details These albums were critically acclaimed and commercially successful, showcasing McDonald’s ability to interpret and perform classic soul music.

"Soul Speak" (2008)

Details A mix of covers and original songs, demonstrating his deep connection to soul and R&B music.

2010s to Present: Legacy and Continued Influence

Continued to collaborate with various artists and participate in tours, both solo and with The Doobie Brothers.

In 2019, McDonald rejoined The Doobie Brothers for their 50th-anniversary tour and contributed to new recordings.

Discography Highlights

Solo Albums

  1. "If That's What It Takes" (1982)
  2. "No Lookin' Back" (1985)
  3. "Blink of an Eye" (1993)
  4. "Blue Obsession" (2000)
  5. "Motown" (2003)
  6. "Motown Two" (2004)
  7. "Soul Speak" (2008)

With The Doobie Brothers

  1. "Takin' It to the Streets" (1976)
  2. "Livin' on the Fault Line" (1977)
  3. "Minute by Minute" (1978)
  4. "One Step Closer" (1980)

Grammy Awards and Accolades

McDonald has won five Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year for "What a Fool Believes" with The Doobie Brothers.

Collaborations and Cover Versions

Kenny Loggins Co-wrote and performed on "This Is It."

Aretha Franklin Worked together on various projects.

Toto Provided backing vocals for "I'll Be Over You."

Dukes of September with Donald Fagan and Boz Scaggs

Quotes and Gossip

Quotes McDonald is often quoted for his reflections on the music industry and his passion for soul and R&B music.

Gossip Some drug problems but known for his down-to-earth personality, McDonald has largely avoided major controversies, focusing instead on his music, charity work, and collaborations.


Michael McDonald’s influence spans several decades and genres. His distinctive voice and musical talent have made him a beloved figure in rock, pop, and R&B, with a legacy that continues to inspire musicians and fans alike.

Songs: I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)", What a Fool Believes, Takin' It to the Streets, Minute by Minute

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