Michael McDonald
  • Male
Share

Michael McDonald's Friends

  • Calihoney
  • James L Milligan Jr
  • Dianna L. Whitt Neu
  • Music Maker
  • CAROLYN SCOTT-SCRUGGS
  • Lydell Jackson
  • KnightD12
  • Shelley "SoleMann" King
  • Old School C
  • Edie Antoinette

Michael McDonald's Photos

  • Add Photos
  • View All
 

♪♫♪

Bio

Born and raised in St. Louis , Missouri , Michael McDonald became one of the most recognizable artists of the past 25 years and perhaps the greatest "blue-eyed soul" singer. His ability to bridge rock, adult contemporary and soul successfully and his unique, recognizable voice, have made him a leading solo singer and backing vocalist.

McDonald first attained notoriety in the early 70s as an adjunct member of Steely Dan. However, it was his 1977 admission to the boogie rock band the Doobie Brothers, and his unlikely steering of that group to a more soul-oriented sound, that made him a star. McDonald-written and sung hits such as "Takin It To The Streets," "You Belong To Me" and the #1 smash "What a Fool Believes" gave an extended commercial life to the Doobies and provided them an unexpected initial exposure on soul radio.

When the Doobies disbanded after 1981's Real Love, McDonald embarked on a highly anticipated solo career. However, after a hot start in 1982 with the wonderful If That's What It Takes and the hit "I Keep Forgettin'," McDonald slowed his solo career down, recording only 3 moderately successful albums over the next 15 years. He appeared to spend the majority of his time working on the projects of dozens of other artists, providing backing vocals for or duet work with dozens of pop/adult contemporary artists. His husky baritone was not only the most recognized voice in any choir, his plaintive soulful backing could actually make a song - and other artists knew it. Interestingly, while his work with Christopher Cross, Kenny Loggins and similar artists made McDonald's name synonymous with a laid-back California sound, perhaps his best work during the 80s and 90s was in pairings with soul and gospel artists such as James Ingram ("Yah Mo Be There"), the Winans ("Love Has No Color") and Patti LaBelle ("On My Own").

In the late 90s, McDonald quietly moved from California to Nashville, where a fascinating musical convergence was taking place. A new organic sound was growing there, combining elements of soul, gospel and folk, and McDonald found in Nashville a level of electricity and creativity that he had seen 20 years earlier in California . The central figure in this new Nashville sound was writer/producer Tommy Sims, and McDonald pegged Sims to produce Blue Obsession, the most overtly soulful and spiritual album of his career. Unfortunately, a disagreement with Reprise, McDonald's record label, held up delivery of the album for almost 3 years, and it was quietly released in 2000 on the Ramp label, in cooperation with the group Chicago. This burying of the album was a tragedy, as Blue Obsession was clearly the album for which McDonald's fans had been waiting. The tunes and the lyrical depth of the album (listen especially to "Kitwit Town," a haunting recounting of a town ravaged by the ebola virus) were the best of his solo career, and the energy brought by the change in geography and by Sims' production (and his voice in the duet "All I Need") made the album a real listening pleasure. Fortunately, it remains in print (and is worth finding). He followed with a wonderful 2001 Christmas album, In the Spirit.

In 2002, McDonald began working on a project with an interesting thesis: What would happen if the greatest "blue-eyed soul" singer of this generation released an album covering songs by the great 60's Motown artists who had clearly influenced his career? And what if he recorded it for Motown? The result was Motown, McDonald's first major release in nearly a decade. McDonald's approach to the album was reverent - not pilfering old songs to introduce them to a new generation as his own, but covering the Sounds of Detroit as a way of paying homage to the great original writers, producers and artists. Faithful (and some innovative) renditions of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," "Distant Lover" "How Sweet It Is" and other great Motown songs have reintroduced those songs with a great voice at the helm and the crisp sound of modern recording techniques, bringing new life to classic favorites. It quickly became McDonald's biggest hit in two decades.

In the Summer of 2004, Hall & Oates and the Average White Band, did a Summer-long tour of the U.S. and Europe with the Rock & Soul Revue, one of that year's best shows. He followed the tour with a sequel to his hit album, Motown 2.

In early 2008, McDonald put the finishing touches on Soul Speak. It was another album filled with his covers of classic soul tunes but also with a few fine originals. McDonald followed a year later with another Christmas album.

By Chris Rizik

Comment Wall (2 comments)

You need to be a member of E.FM Radio to add comments!

Join E.FM Radio

At 1:03pm on March 5, 2011, CAROLYN SCOTT-SCRUGGS said…
hope you have a sweet saturday
At 5:21pm on December 26, 2009, Shelley "SoleMann" King said…
Now this is TIGHTTTTTTTTT, real tight, tighter then The Doobie Brothers on Whats Happening....LOL
 
 
 

Latest Activity

Edie Antoinette left a comment for Black Heritage
Monday
Edie Antoinette commented on Edie Antoinette's blog post test
Nov 26
Edie Antoinette left a comment for Cheryl
"Hey Honey! Hope all is well ♥"
Oct 27
Edie Antoinette left a comment for Old School C
"Love you honey ♥"
Oct 23

Introspection

Spotlight | Maze

  1. play Maze — 03 Feel That You're Feelin'
  2. play Maze — 04 Somebody Else's Arms
  3. play Maze — 04 Southern Girl
  4. play Maze — Can't Get Over You
  5. play Maze — Golden Time Of Day
  6. play Norman Brown — Night Drive
  7. play Norman Brown — Feeling
  8. play Norman Brown — Still
  9. play Miles Davis — miles 1
  10. play miles 2
  11. play miles 3
  12. play miles 4
  13. play miles 5
  14. play Marvin Gaye — I Met A Little Girl
  15. play Santana — 01 Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
  16. play Santana — 02 Black Magic Woman-Gypsy Queen
  17. play Mongo — 02. Afro Blue



The history of the Butlers/Raw Soul is dense, but for all of us music nerds, that's normal. It is not totally clear what year the Butlers actually formed but they released their first single in 1963 on Liberty Records. That single was "She Tried To Kiss Me" and another single followed on Guyden entitled "Lovable Girl." After the Guyden single the Butlers took a break not recording another record until the single "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" was released on the Phila label in 1966. The group also backed Charles Earland and Jean Wells on one Phila single ("I Know She Loves Me"). 


As you might be noticing, the Butlers were doing a fair amount of recording but not achieving much success. The group's recordings sold regionally but never had the promotion to make an impact on the national scene. After the single with Phila, the Butlers moved to the Fairmount label (part of the Cameo-Parkway family) and released a handful of singles, some being reissued singles of the past. The Butlers were with Fairmount for 1966-67 and then moved to Sassy Records. Sassy released the group's greatest single (in my opinion) "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" b/w "If That's What You Wanted." A copy of that 45 sold for just under $500 last summer on eBay. Even though that isn't that much in the world of record collecting--it's still a hefty sum. The Butlers released another single on Sassy ("She's Gone" b/w "Love Is Good") that appears to be even 
harder to come by then the "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" single.

 

The true history become a bit blurred here as the AMG biography states that the Butlers last record was released on C.R.S. in 1974 (". However, between 1971 and that single, Frankie Beverly formed a group called Raw Soul and released a number of singles. Some of the songs recorded by Beverly during this period are "While I'm Alone," "Open Up Your Heart," (both on the Gregor label) and "Color Blind." "Color Blind" was released by the Eldorado label and rerecorded by Maze. Beverly's big break came when Marvin Gaye asked Raw Soul to back him on a tour. Gaye helped Beverly/Raw Soul get a contract at Capitol. Beverly decided to take the group in a different direction, a name change occurred, and Maze was created. 

The above isn't the most complete history of Beverly but hopefully someone will know a way to get in touch with the man or his management because a comprehensive pre-Maze history needs to be done on Frankie Beverly (his real name is Howard, by the way). Below you'll find every Frankie Beverly (pre-Maze) song available to me right now ("Color Blind" will be up soon). 

If you have a song that is not included below, shoot it over to funkinsoulman (at) yahoo.com and it will go up in the next Frankie Beverly post (later this week--highlighting Maze). Also, if you have any more information please share your knowledge. The Butlers material has been comp-ed sporadically (usually imports) but the entire Maze catalog has been reissued and is available. 

Enjoy.  "She Kissed Me" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967) 
 
 "I Want To Feel I'm Wanted" (not sure which label or year) "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" (Phila, 1966) "Because Of My Heart" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967)
   
 "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" (Sassy, 1967)
   
 "If That's What You Wanted" (Sassy, 1967)
 



Frankie Beverly is one of those cats that has lasting power. He started in the music business doing a tour with doo wop group the Silhouettes and then formed his own group called the Blenders. The Blenders never recorded a single, Beverly wouldn't appear on wax until forming the Butlers a few years later. Along with Beverly, the Butlers included Jack "Sonny" Nicholson, Joe Collins, John Fitch, and Talmadge Conway.

Beverly would later enjoy great success fronting Maze and Conway would become a
well-known penning Double Exposure's
"Ten Percent" and the Intruders' "Memories Are Here To Stay." 
 While Maze is a phenomenal group, Beverly's work before that group will always stand out as his best (imo).

The Butlers produced tunes that most Northern Soul fans would kill for and Raw Soul gave the funksters something to pursue. If, by chance, you know of a way to get in touch with Frankie Beverly or his management, please drop me an e-mail. It would be absolutely great to do an interview with him about his pre-Maze work. He's still playing out, most recently doing a New Year's Eve show in Atlanta.
:: Funkinsoulman ::

Sounds of Maze

  1. play Maze — 03 Feel That You're Feelin'
  2. play Maze — 04 Somebody Else's Arms
  3. play Maze — 04 Southern Girl
  4. play Maze — Can't Get Over You
  5. play Maze — Golden Time Of Day
  6. play Norman Brown — Night Drive
  7. play Norman Brown — Feeling
  8. play Norman Brown — Still
  9. play Miles Davis — miles 1
  10. play miles 2
  11. play miles 3
  12. play miles 4
  13. play miles 5
  14. play Marvin Gaye — I Met A Little Girl
  15. play Santana — 01 Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
  16. play Santana — 02 Black Magic Woman-Gypsy Queen
  17. play Mongo — 02. Afro Blue

Power...Through Simplicity ♪♫♪

Members

About

© 2019   Created by Edie Antoinette.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service