The Doobie Brothers

Ahhh... the sweet sounds of classic '70s California pop. No one has ever embodied that sound more than the Doobie Brothers. And now that the style the Doobies perfected has become a musical archetype (see modern artists like the Autumn Defense, Beck, and so on), it's all too easy to look back through the lens of nostalgia rather than give the band the credit it deserves. Looking at the Doobies catalog from a more objective, musical standpoint — and sober of the pop-culture fetishism we place on the era — the band expertly concocted a blend of soft pop, funk, blue-eyed soul, and light jazz under an infectious glaze of polish. Much like the sunny Pacific atmosphere in which they incubated their approach, the Doobies' sound washes past you like a cool breeze. That's even as it percolates with hooks and rousing grooves, best-captured on radio staples like "China Grove" and "Black Water." And though certain key elements from the classic era — Michael McDonald, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter — are long gone, the band has impressively retained longtime core members Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons, John McFee, and Michael Hossack.