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Michael McDonald

ON AIR
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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, he 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 2007, respectively. Tribute to Motown Live followed in 2009. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Albums by
Michael McDonald

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    11 songs

    On Air

    The Last Day

    14 songs

    On Air

    Soul Speak

    14 songs

    On Air

    Motown Two

    14 songs

    On Air

    Motown

    11 songs

    On Air

    Blink of an Eye

    11 songs

    On Air

    Take It to Heart

    10 songs

    On Air

    If That's What It Takes

    4 songs

    On Air

    Unfinished Business

    9 songs

    On Air

    No Lookin' Back

    1 song

    On Air

    La Marea Humana (feat. Robben Ford)

    1 song

    On Air

    (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher

    1 song

    On Air

    Walk On By

    1 song

    On Air

    Love T.K.O.

    1 song

    On Air

    Reach Out I'll Be There

    7 songs

    On Air

    I Stand for You

    12 songs

    On Air

    This Christmas

    12 songs

    On Air

    Blue Obsession

    19 songs

    On Air

    The Ultimate Collection

    10 songs

    On Air

    No Lookin' Back

    27 songs

    On Air

    Motown Two [Bonus Disc]

    10 songs

    On Air

    Through the Many Winters: A Christmas Album

    11 songs

    On Air

    In the Spirit: A Christmas Album

    18 songs

    On Air

    This Christmas: Live in Chicago

    14 songs

    On Air

    Soundstage: A Tribute To Motown Live

See All Albums

Top Songs by
Michael McDonald

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)
  3.   Sweet Freedom
  4.   Ain't No Mountain High Enough
  5.   Our Love
  6.   The Meaning of Love
  7.   Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing
  8.   That's Why
  9.   Too High
  10.   (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher
  11.   Blink of an Eye
  12.   Minute by Minute
  13.   Enemy Within
  14.   On Christmas Morning
  15.   World Out of a Dream
  16.   All We Got
  17.   Mercy Mercy Me
  18.   How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)
  19.   Reflections
  20.   Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)
  21.   You Belong to Me
  22.   It Keeps You Runnin'
  23.   On My Own
  24.   I Gotta Try
  25.   More to Us Than That
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Michael McDonald

    On Air

    Smooth Jazz

    On Air

    Yacht Rock

    On Air

    Billy Currington: I Am The DJ

    On Air

    '80s Hits

    On Air

    Classic Soft Hits

    On Air

    Nothing But Love Songs

    On Air

    Adult R&B

    On Air

    Soft Rock


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