10 Michael McDonald guest vocals you might not have heard

Friday, February 12, 2016
10 Michael McDonald guest vocals you might not have heard

During the ‘70s and ‘80s, you could barely turn on the radio without hearing Michael McDonald, and not just because he was a member of Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers before starting his solo career: he was also contributing guest vocals to songs by Kenny Loggins (“This Is It”), Christopher Cross (“Ride Like the Wind”), and Toto (“I’ll Be Over You”), and many other artists. No, seriously, you don’t even realize how many other people’s songs he’s sung on. We, however, do – we did the research – and we thought we’d celebrate Mr. McDonald’s birthday by introducing you to 10 tracks that you may not have heard before.

1. Carly Simon, “One Love Stand”

Although McDonald’s voice can be easily heard on this album track from Simon’s Another Passenger, released in 1976, he wasn’t the only Doobie on hand: all of the Brothers turned up to contribute, due to their own producer, Ted Templeman, helming the sessions. There also ended up being a bit of payback the following year: Simon teamed with McDonald to co-write the song “You Belong to Me,” which made its debut on the Doobie Brothers’ 1977 album Livin’ on the Fault Line. They didn’t release it as a single at the time (although they eventually issued a live version as the single from their Farewell Tour live album in 1983), but Simon issued her own version as the first single from her 1978 album, Boys in the Trees, she found herself with a top-10 hit.

2. Bonnie Raitt, “Runaway”

Although it would be almost 15 years before she found herself in the top 10 for the first time in career with her 1991 single “Something to Talk About,” Raitt earned her first-ever entry on the Billboard Hot 100 back in 1977, thanks to “Runaway.” Not only did McDonald sing on her cover of the Del Shannon classic, but he can be heard throughout her Sweet Forgiveness album.

3. Chunky, Novi & Ernie, “See What You Done”

With a name like Chunky, Novi & Ernie, you’d think the Smuckers rule would apply, and you’d be right: it’s good ‘70s pop-rock, and it’s produced by Ted Templeman, which explains how McDonald ended up in the mix. If you’re wondering about the identity of the trio, it’s Novi Novog, Ernie Emerita, and Lauren “Chunky” Wood. Yeah, it’s a heck of a nickname, but there are other things by which you can recall Wood, such as her song “Fallen,” which appeared on the Pretty Woman soundtrack.

4. Tim Moore, “Strengthen My Love”

It’s arguable that Tim Moore may be better known for the artists with whom he’s been connected than his own work: he played in the blues band Woody’s Truck Stop with Todd Rundgren, played guitar on Philly Soul sessions with Thom Bell and Gamble & Huff, co-founded the band Gulliver with Daryl hall, sang backup on Steely Dan’s first single, “Dallas,” and wrote “Rock and Roll Love Letter,” which went on to be a hit for the Bay City Rollers but also led to Moore becoming friends with Keith Richards. “Strengthen My Love” comes from Moore’s 1977 album White Shadows, and it’s about as L.A. an album as you could ask for, with contributions from McDonald as well as David Foster, Bill Payne from Little Feat, Jeff Porcaro, who was probably just on the cusp of kicking off his career with Toto, and The Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmidt.