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.