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CSX Classic Cuts

INDIO, CA - MAY 01: The Doobie Brothers perform onstage 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: “What a Fool Believes”

The Hook: It took a writing session with Kenny Loggins to turn a cool piano riff and lyrics written on a napkin into a hit song.

Album: Minute by Minute

Year: 1979

Writers: Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins

Stats: Topped the Billboard Hot 100 and won Grammys for both Song… and Record of the Year.

Background: Former Doobie Brothers singer and keyboardist Michael McDonald tells us that “What a Fool Believes” was “nothing more than a piano riff for the first year of its life.” He recalls how the events unfolded to get it from there to a completed song.

Former Doobie Brothers singer and keyboardist Michael McDonald on how “What a Fool Believes” went from a just a piano riff to a completed song. OC:…on that. :30

“I kept playing this piano groove for Ted Templeman, and he kept saying, ‘God, you’ve got to finish that song. I tell you, that’s a hit!’ I kept saying, ‘Well, I just can’t think of anything else to do with it.’ And then on an airplane ride, I came up with some lyrics, and wrote them on a napkin. But I didn’t really write the song until I got together with Kenny Loggins. We were going to get together for the first time to co-write, and he was outside my door, and I was playing that riff thinking, ‘Well, maybe I’ll play him this. Maybe he’ll help me make a song out of this.’ And the doorbell rang, and when I answered it, he didn’t even say hello or anything. He goes, ‘Whatever you were just playing, let’s work on that!'”