“One Step Closer” by The Doobie Brothers

When “One Step Closer” was released in 1980, critics and many fans declared the Doobie Brothers’ ninth release the worst album of their career. And it was true that the Doobies were never further away from their biker boogie rock roots than at the beginning of the 80s.

After their Grammy-winning masterpiece “Minute by Minute”, a major change had taken place: Jeff “Skunk” Baxter was replaced by John McFee, session pro Chet McCracken came for John Hartman and with saxophonist Cornelius Bumpus another Steely Dan veteran was hired. The “new” Doobie Brothers, now under the direction of Michael McDonald, played sophisticated jazz and R&B influenced pop. And even though “One Step Closer” – produced by Ted Templeman – was not their strongest album, it contained great music like the top 5 single “Real Love”, refined with the background vocals of Nicolette Larson, the opening track “Dedicate This Heart”, co-written by Paul Anka, or the sublime title track.

After a final farewell tour in 1982, the Doobie Brothers disbanded, exhausted after more than ten years of recording and touring. Michael McDonald’s creative fire was still burning and he began his successful solo career. But that’s another story…..