The Doobie Brothers' Five Greatest Guitar Moments

(Image credit: Ed Perlstein/Getty Images)

You've probably heard about Polk Audio's new “Listen to the Music” contest, which offers bands a trip to Las Vegas to open up for Walk Off the Earth and John Legend. As part of the contest, bands are asked to record a cover of the classic Doobie Brothers track “Listen to the Music” — and create an original video to go with it. You can get all the details about the contest right here. In the meantime, all this talk about the Doobie Brothers has got us thinking about that band's smooth, free-wheeling musicianship, specifically their guitar playing and the many classic six-string parts — from funky riffs and chord progressions to solos and grooves and beyond — they've recorded since their 1971 self-titled debut. So, in the spirit of the contest, we ask you to "Listen to the Music" and check out our guide to the top five Doobie Brothers guitar moments. This list was compiled by a group of Guitar World staffers, including Tech Editor Paul Riario (who, like me, remembers the famous Doobie Brothers episodes of What's Happening!!. I nearly cried when Rerun got busted for bootlegging the concert!) To keep up with the Doobie Brothers, check out their official website and Facebook page."Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)"From Stampede (1975) This Motown-style track features one or two great "outside" guitar solo moments. The solo kicks off at 2:22 in the video below. "That song was like a dream come true for us," said former Doobies guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, who plays the song's climactic solo. "Every musician I've ever known has at some point wanted to achieve Motown's technically slick soul sound; it's so dynamic. We sat down to try to duplicate it, and to see if our version could emerge as a successful single." In terms of Baxter's approach to soloing, here's what he told Guitar Player in 1980: "It's sort of obtuse. Some people look at music horizontally, in terms of the flow of just a single line. Others look at it vertically, in terms of chords and how much music you can make in one specific spot. I look at it as sort of entering at a 45-degree angle. I really see percussion as a strong part of expression: the guitar is a real percussive instrument, especially when you're moving volumes of air with thousands of watts. My style of playing rhythm and lead at the same time comes from playing a lot of clubs in the New York and Boston scenes."

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.