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Michael McDonald

With his husky, soulful baritone, Michael McDonald became one of the most distinctive and popular vocalists to emerge from the laid-back California pop/rock scene of the late '70s. McDonald found the middle ground between blue-eyed soul and smooth soft rock, a sound that made him a star. He initially essayed his signature style with the Doobie Brothers, ushering in the group's most popular period with hits like "What a Fool Believes" and "Taking It to the Streets." McDonald disbanded the group in 1982 to pursue a solo career, which was initially quite successful, but by the end of the decade his popularity had faded away, since he was reluctant to work regularly and hesitant to update his sound to suit shifting popular tastes.

After singing backup on several Steely Dan albums in the mid-'70s, Michael McDonald joined the Doobie Brothers in 1977. He was largely responsible for moving the group away from boogie rock and toward polished, jazzy blue-eyed soul. Prior to the Doobies' farewell tour in 1982, he sang harmony on several hit singles, including tracks by Donna Summer, Toto, Kenny Loggins, and Christopher Cross. As it turned out, McDonald's solo work was a cross between the Doobie Brothers' white-bread soul and Cross' adult contemporary ballads.

McDonald released his solo debut, If That's What It Takes, in 1982. The record climbed to number six on the strength of the number four single "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)," which also crossed over into the R&B Top Ten. In 1983, he had another Top 20 pop hit (and a Top Ten R&B hit) with his duet with James Ingram, "Yah Mo B There." McDonald didn't deliver his second solo album, No Lookin' Back, until 1985. The record wasn't as successful as its predecessor, producing only one moderate hit in its title track. He bounced back the following year, when his duet with Patti LaBelle, "On My Own," shot to number one and "Sweet Freedom," his theme for the Billy Crystal/Gregory Hines comedy Running Scared, climbed into the Top Ten.

Instead of capitalizing on his revitalized success, McDonald didn't release another album until 1990. The resulting Take It to Heart was a bomb, peaking at number 110. Two years later, his fortunes were revived somewhat when he sang on Aretha Franklin's minor hit "Ever Changing Times" and toured with Donald Fagen's New York Rock and Soul Revue. The following year, he released Blink of an Eye, which was ignored. In 1994, "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)" was sampled heavily in Warren G's smash hit "Regulate." By 1996, McDonald had returned to the Doobie Brothers, touring the oldies circuit with the reunited group. The following year, McDonald released Blue Obsession, his first album of new material in three years. He released a Christmas album (In the Spirit: A Christmas Album) in 2001, and began a series of recordings devoted to the Motown catalog with 2003's Motown. Motown Two and Soul Speak followed in 2004 and 2008 respectively. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Classic song
Makes you feel so sexy
lashaerich
love this man
Michael and Patti LaBelle hit duo perfection with On My Own! Beautiful.
Don't you know it Kissed.
Michael McDonald is one of the most talented musicians that we have been blessed with, a voice that is unique and beautiful. I am a long time and life long fan of his!!!
Awesome sauce!
Awesome song and two great artist
One of the greatest white soulful brothers I have ever, ever heard, love to YOU, Mr. Mcdonald
WHAT A FOOL BELIEVES IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SONG I'VE EVER HEARD THANK YOU MR MCDONALD FOR BEAUTIFUL MUSIC
MR MCDONALD IS ONE OF GREATEST ARTIST THAT PUT WORDS TO MUSIC
bregular
There is no other voice like his. Very distinct and not processed. Shame he is no longer releasing
Divorce in 2010 it's now 2014. I keep forgetting.
I know - 1st said huh on baritone. Googled it - he's definitely there.
Yep
lindamast641 5 5
No pressure, Michael MacDonald's mantra
Goosebumps.
howardfrith
Baritone? Cm on!
Soulful and oh so nice.
he rocks
Love me some michael McDonald. His voice is amazing.
awesome Donald, what a f**kin voice
Just received his CD "The Ultimate Collection". Fabulous!
Growing up in the 80s we didn't know if Mr Mcdonald was black or white and that in itself defined music back then which was so good and diverse;I wondered what happened to music smh....
Hervorrgrand e Musikalitat.
woimsta2
he's a bad brotha!
woimsta2
awesomeness at its fullest. shows you music transcends color!
kathyr82
LUV LUV LUV YOU MICHAEL BEAUTIFUL SONGS
rushman412
love this guy. Music is all classic. I have all of his albums.
yah mo be-still a classic
Michael Mcdonald
Mr. McDonald have nothing but SOUL in that voice of his.... Also love I'm on my own featuring Ms. Patti....
Love MM's voice. Definitely baritone & so Doobies!!
REAL MUSIC GOOD FEELING
ktvsp
Michael McDonald is not a Baritone by any measure; rather, he is a tenor with a husky voice.
One of my mother all-time favorite the greatest!!!
One of the best songs ever. My parents were still married great times for me and my little brother
I love his music
I love this song!
This is a staple at our house. My kids know his songs like the wind! :)
I bet this guy is santas's cousin
I swere this guy is santa's cousin
Luv the song n the voice...
sfuller13
I would have never discovered him if not for Yacht Rock. He's one smooth mother******
This dude inspired me to make music.
This one is for my grandson ALEXANDER GOLDBURG AND HIS ONLY GRANDMA -NO.1
MY GIRL TAKE ME BACK N THE DAY.....
Love his soulful voice!
Soulful, yes!!! Distinctive, absolutely!! Amazingly talented, without a doubt, but Michael McDonald a baritone??? Um...... not so much!! LOL
The soulful voice of mike love him.
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