The year 1976 was a tumultuous one for The Doobie Brothers. Years of relentless touring had taken a heavy toll on longtime bandleader, Tom Johnston. Diagnosed with stomach ulcers, he was forced to sit out most of the sessions for the Takin’ It to the Streets album, which was released in March 1976.
Guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter recruited some major reinforcements in the shape of fellow Steely Dan alumni, Michael McDonald. In turn, McDonald would end up contributing mightily to the effort, penning two of the album’s singles: “It Keeps You Runnin’” and the title track, with the latter peaking at No. 13 on the Hot 100. While the group contemplated its next move, the time was ideal to release a greatest hits collection, with Best of the Doobies hitting record stores on October 29, 1976.
"It was all based around this somewhat Utopian view of the world," Johnston would explain later of "Listen to the Music," the band's first big hit in 1972. "The idea was that music would lift man up to a higher plane, and that world leaders, if they were able to sit down on some big grassy knoll where the sun was shining and hear music - such as the type I was playing - would figure out that everybody had more in common than they had not in common, and it was certainly not worth getting in such a bad state of affairs about. Everybody in the world would therefore benefit from this point of view. Just basically that music would make everything better. And of course I've since kind of realized it doesn't work that way."
Spanning tracks from 1972 full-length, Toulouse Street, through Takin’ It to the Streets, the greatest hits LP was a smash, featuring the FM radio hits that made them famous. Best of the Doobies still stands as a well-crafted tribute to the band’s early through mid-’70s output.