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INDIO, CA - MAY 01: (L-R) Musicians John Cowan, Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston and John McFee of The Doobie Brothers perform onstage with The Doobie Brothers during 2016 Stagecoach California's Country Music Festival at Empire Polo Club on May 01, 2016 in Indio, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Stagecoach)

WCSX Classic Cuts

The Doobie Brothers: “Long Train Runnin'”

The Hook: Song from their bar band days — previously called “Rosie Pig Moseley,” then “Osborn” — is reworked in the studio, gets a new set of lyrics and goes Top 10.

Album: The Captain and Me

Year: 1973

Writer: Tom Johnston

Stats: Peaked at number-eight on the Billboard Hot 100.

Background: Doobie Brothers singer-guitarist Tom Johnston says “Long Train Runnin'” had a couple of other names before he finally wrote lyrics for it. He recalls that it was their producer, Ted Templeman, who leaned on him to finish the song.

Doobie Brothers singer-guitarist Tom Johnston on “Long Train Running.” OC:…I know? :26

“We played it for a long time before we were signed – we had that song together. We didn’t have the words and I ended up writing the words that are on the record after we cut the tracks for the album. We didn’t even put it on the first and second album, it wasn’t on until the third one. I didn’t think it was worth recording at the time, I just thought it was too simple and so what. And [producer] Teddy [Templeman] thought it was a good song. He says, ‘C’mon, man, it’s a good song, let’s record it.’ And surprisingly enough, everybody really liked it. It’s not that I didn’t like the song, I just didn’t think it was anything outstanding. But what do I know?”