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Michael McDonald

Michael McDonald

Fact Sheet

Musical genre:Pop, Rock  
Birthday12 February 1952 (65)
Birthplace  St. Louis, Missouri, USA
With his husky, soulful baritone, Michael McDonald (born February 12, 1952 in St. Louis, Missouri) 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, since he preferred to tour rather than record new material and was 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 1975. 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.

In 2003, he returned to national consciousness when several tracks from his Motown album, an collection of covers of classic Motown songs, were used in television commercials for MCI's local phone service, The Neighborhood. The album went on to become McDonald's first major hit since the 1980s.