Listen to the Music

"Listen to the Music" is a song recorded by the Doobie Brothers on their second album Toulouse Street. This song was the Doobie Brothers' first big hit in 1972. It was written by Tom Johnston.

"Listen to the Music"
Listen to the music.jpg
Single by the Doobie Brothers
from the album Toulouse Street
B-side"Toulouse Street"
ReleasedJuly 19, 1972 (1972-07-19)
Format7-inch single
StudioWarner Bros. Studios, North Hollywood, California
Length4:44 (album version)
3:47 (single edit) 3:26 (45 version)
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)Tom Johnston
Producer(s)Ted Templeman
The Doobie Brothers singles chronology
"Listen to the Music"
"Jesus Is Just Alright"


Writer Tom Johnston described the motivation for the song as a call for world peace:

"The chord structure of it made me think of something positive, so the lyrics that came out of that were based on this utopian idea that if the leaders of the world got together on some grassy hill somewhere and either smoked enough dope or just sat down and just listened to the music and forgot about all this other bullshit, the world would be a much better place. It was very utopian and very unrealistic (laughs). It seemed like a good idea at the time."[1]

The studio recording used both a banjo and a prominent flanging effect, audible from the bridge until the fadeout. When released as a single by Warner Bros. Records, the song peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1972.[2]

The commercial success of "Listen to the Music" helped the album Toulouse Street rise on the charts. The song remains a staple of adult contemporary and classic rock radio. The band also uses it as an encore song during live shows. Patrick Simmons, the second guitarist and vocalist in the group, sings the bridge of the song.


The Doobie Brothers:

Additional personnel:

Chart performanceEdit


The song received a remix by Steve Rodway a.k.a. Motiv8 in 1994, which eventually peaked at #37 UK.[9]

Cover versionsEdit

"Listen to the Music" was covered by Sonny & Cher on their 1973 LP Mama Was a Rock and Roll Singer, Papa Used to Write All Her Songs, and by The Isley Brothers on their 1973 LP 3 + 3.


  1. ^ a b Mastropolo, Frank (November 29, 2012). "Doobie Brothers' Tom Johnston Reflects on 'Listen to the Music' at 40". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  2. ^ "The Doobie Brothers - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "The Doobie Brothers - Listen to the Music". Dutch Charts. Retrieved June 30, 2019 – via Google Translate.
  4. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  5. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Listen to the Music". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  6. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  7. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, November 11, 1972". November 11, 1972. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.
  9. ^ Zywietz, Tobias (March 22, 2005). "Chart Log UK: Dio - Dyverse". Chart Log UK. The Official Zobbel Website.

External linksEdit