John Hartman, the original drummer of the Doobie Brothers, died at the age of 72.
John Hartman's drumming may be heard on some of The Doobie Brothers' most well-known songs, including "Listen to the Music," "China Grove," "Long Train Runnin'," and "Jesus is Just Alright." One of rock's most lasting bands' founding member has died at the age of 72.
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On their official social media accounts, the current Doobie Brothers, including fellow founders Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons, confirmed the passing of "Little John."
"John was a free spirit, a terrific drummer, and a showman... He was also a long-time friend and integral element of the band's identity."
Hartman, a Falls Church, Virginia native, quit the band in 1979, nine years after it was formed in San Jose, California, with Johnston and, shortly after, Simmons. His resignation came after some of their most successful songs, including "Black Water" and "What a Fool Believes."
He resurfaced for a brief period in 1987 before retiring permanently in 1992. Hartman will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside his fellow Doobie Brothers in 2020.
While Johnston and Simmons wrote the majority of the band's songs, Hartman contributed songwriting to their extensive discography over the years, including 1974's "Road Angel" (from the "What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits" album) and 1976's "Wheel of Fortune" (from "Takin' it to the Streets," the first Doobie Brothers album to feature Michael McDonald).
Hartman last appeared on the band's reunion albums "Cycles," released in 1989, and "Brotherhood," released in 1991.
The decision to add a second drummer to the mix was decided early in the Doobies' creation. Michael Hossack joined Hartman in 1971 as percussionist, a position he maintained for a few years until being replaced by Keith Knudsen.
The dual-drummer combination persisted throughout the band's existence; the current touring edition of The Doobie Brothers features a single drummer (Ed Toth) who is assisted by percussionist Marc Quiones.