Before "Who shot J.R.?" there was a much simpler question that resonated with rock lovers on television: "Which Doobie you be?"
On Jan. 28, 1978, that question was set in motion when The Doobie Brothers made an appearance on the popular sitcom What's Happening!! In the two-part episode "Doobie or Not Doobie," Raj, Dwayne and Rerun score some front-row seats to a sold-out Doobies show at their high school (which the band purportedly attended). The only problem: Rerun is coerced by some shady folks to help them bootleg the show. Luckily, as in the best sitcoms, nobody gets into serious trouble, and the guys help the band get one up on the would-be tape sellers.
The lighthearted episodes feature some solid performances by the group. The year before, The Doobies released their seventh album Livin' on the Fault Line and treat the cast to solid rehearsal renditions of "Echoes of Love" and "Little Darling (I Need You)." Michael McDonald and bassist Tiran Porter trade some funny jokes with Raj's sister Dee, and singer/guitarist Patrick Simmons even recognizes Rerun as a former classmate (who, unfortunately, is still something of a current classmate).
More than four decades later, Simmons recalls having a lot of fun on the show - and maybe even bringing people together, as a predominantly white band on a show with a predominantly Black cast.
"Doing that show for me was a joy in that regard - to be building what I thought was a bridge, at a time in television where those situation comedies were bridges between cultures," he told Yahoo! "The music that was happening during that time period was the disco era, and it was a lot of people waking up to the fact that great music didn’t have any color."