Few bands have had such an intense rotation of members as the Doobie Brothers. At the group's inception in 1971, vocalist/guitarist Tom Johnston and drummer John Hartman teamed up with late bassist Dave Shohgren and guitarist Patrick Simmons to begin the journey. It would bring several hits ("Long Train Running," "What a Fool Believes," "Listen to the Music"), gold discs, and Grammys. Still, the band was unable to preserve a stable lineup, all the way through its supposed 1983 Farewell Tour.
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One needs an encyclopedic memory in order to chronicle the number of people who came and went over the years. It wouldn't hurt to have one, either, to chart the manner in which the Doobie Brothers' sound evolved from heavy guitar-blues-inflected tunes to elaborate songs filled with intricate harmonies and prog-rock tendencies. The current incarnation consists of Guy Allison (keyboard, vocals), Michael Hossack (drums), founder Tom Johnston (vocals, guitar), John McFee (guitar, vocals, strings), Marc Russo (saxophone), Pat Simmons (guitar, vocals), Skylark (bass, vocals), and Ed Toth (drums). Still, the players maintain what they call an "open-door policy" for former members to sit in; in fact Michael McDonald often joins the group during its live sets whenever their schedules coincide.