What a Fool Believes

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"What a Fool Believes"
What a Fool Believes by The Doobie Brothers US vinyl 7-inch.jpg
Artwork for one US 7-inch vinyl pressings, also used for the album, which contains the song
Single by The Doobie Brothers
from the album Minute by Minute
B-side "Don't Stop to Watch the Wheels"
ReleasedJanuary 1979
Format 7-inch
RecordedAugust 1978
Length3:41 (Album / Single Version)
5:28 (Extended Version)
7:11 (Disco Remix Version)
Label Warner Bros.
Songwriter(s) Michael McDonald,
Kenny Loggins
Producer(s) Ted Templeman
The Doobie Brothers singles chronology
"Echoes of Love"
"What a Fool Believes"
"Minute by Minute"

"What a Fool Believes" is a song written by Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins. The best-known version was recorded by The Doobie Brothers (with McDonald singing lead vocals) for their 1978 album Minute by Minute . Debuting at number 73 on January 20, 1979, the single reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on April 14, 1979 for one week. [7] The song received Grammy Awards in 1980 for both Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

Kenny Loggins American singer-songwriter, guitarist, recording artist

Kenneth Clark Loggins is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. His early songs were recorded with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1970, which led to seven albums recorded as Loggins and Messina from 1972 to 1977. As a solo artist, Loggins experienced a string of soundtrack successes, including an Academy Award nomination for "Footloose" in 1984. His early soundtrack contributions date back to A Star Is Born in 1976, and for much of the 1980s and 1990s he was known as the Soundtrack King. Finally Home was released in 2013, shortly after Loggins formed the group Blue Sky Riders with Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman.

The Doobie Brothers American rock band

The Doobie Brothers are an American rock band from San Jose, California. The group has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. They have been active for five decades, with their greatest success in the 1970s.

1978 in music Overview of the events of 1978 in music

This is a list of notable events in music that took place in the year 1978.


The song was one of the few non-disco No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 during the first eight months of 1979. The lyrics tell a story of a man who is reunited with an old love interest and attempts to rekindle a romantic relationship with her before discovering that one never really existed.

It was claimed that Michael Jackson contributed at least one backing track to the original Doobie Brothers recording, but was not credited for having done so. [8] This was later denied by the band. [9]

Michael Jackson American singer, songwriter and dancer

Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he is widely regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest entertainers of all time. He was also known for his unorthodox lifestyle, residing in a private amusement park he called Neverland Ranch, and often becoming the focus of tabloid scrutiny. Jackson's contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.


Patrick Simmons is an American musician best known as a founding member of the rock band The Doobie Brothers. Born in Aberdeen, Washington, he has been the only consistent member of the band throughout their tenure. Simmons wrote many songs for the Doobie Brothers, including "South City Midnight Lady", "Dependin' On You", "Echoes of Love", and "Black Water," the group's first #1 record.

Jeff Baxter American musician

Jeffrey Allen "Skunk" Baxter is an American guitarist, known for his stints in the rock bands Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers during the 1970s and Spirit in the 1980s. More recently, he has worked as a defense consultant and chairs a Congressional Advisory Board on missile defense.

Tiran Porter American musician

Tiran Porter is an American bass and guitar player, vocalist and composer, best known as a member of The Doobie Brothers from 1972 to 1980 and 1987 to 1992.

Additional players

Bill Payne American musician

Bill Payne is an American pianist who, with Lowell George, co-founded the American rock band Little Feat. He is considered by many other rock pianists, including Elton John, to be one of the finest American piano rock and blues musicians. In addition to his trademark barrelhouse blues piano, he is noted for his work on the Hammond B3 organ. Payne is an accomplished songwriter whose credits include "Oh, Atlanta". Following the death of Little Feat drummer Richie Hayward on August 12, 2010, Payne is the only member of the group from the original four-piece line-up currently playing in the band.

Robert Jay LaKind was a conga player, vocalist, songwriter and occasional backup drummer with The Doobie Brothers. Originally a lighting roadie for the band, he was invited to join as a sideman for studio sessions after band members noticed his talent when LaKind goofed around on the congas after a concert.

Chart performance

Other versions by Loggins and McDonald

Kenny Loggins released a version of the song (five months prior to The Doobie Brothers) on his 1978 album Nightwatch , and a live version on his 1980 album Kenny Loggins Alive . Loggins' original version switches several of the gender pronouns, so that it is sung largely from the perspective of the woman in the encounter.

<i>Nightwatch</i> (album) 1978 studio album by Kenny Loggins

Nightwatch is the second solo album from Kenny Loggins, released in 1978. The album is Loggins' highest charting album on the Billboard 200 to date, reaching number 7.

<i>Kenny Loggins Alive</i> 1980 live album by Kenny Loggins

Kenny Loggins Alive is a live album by soft rock singer, Kenny Loggins. Released in 1980, it contains material from Loggins' three previous solo albums, as well as a previously unreleased song "All Alone Tonight", "I'm Alright" and a cover of The Beatles "Here There and Everywhere". A movie recording of the same title is available with different songs.

There is a Loggins/McDonald live duet on Loggins' 1993 album Outside: From the Redwoods . [21]

Warner Brothers also released a 12-inch single disco version by The Doobie Brothers (backed with "Don't Stop to Watch the Wheels"), which peaked at number 40 on Billboard's Disco Action Chart in April 1979. Mixed by disco producer Jim Burgess, at 5:31 the song is considerably longer than the 3:41 versions on the 7-inch single and the Minute by Minute LP. The 12-inch version also has a more pronounced bass-driven drumbeat. [22]

Matt Bianco version

"What a Fool Believes"
Single by Matt Bianco
from the album Samba in Your Casa
  • "Samba in Your Casa (Cashassa Mix)"
  • "Say It's Not Too Late"
Format 12"
Genre Latin jazz
Label EastWest Records
Songwriter(s) Michael McDonald,
Kenny Loggins

"What a Fool Believes" is a 12" vinyl EP by Matt Bianco, released in 1991.

Track listing

Other cover versions

Numerous cover versions of the song have been recorded, including:

Appearances in other media

Related Research Articles

The 22nd Annual Grammy Awards were held on February 27, 1980, at Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, and were broadcast live on American television. They recognized accomplishments by musicians from the year 1979. This year was notable for being the first year to have a designated category for Rock music.

<i>Minute by Minute</i> 1978 studio album by The Doobie Brothers

Minute by Minute is the eighth studio album by American rock band The Doobie Brothers, released on December 1, 1978 by Warner Bros. Records. It was their first without Tom Johnston as a full-fledged member of the band, and would be the last to include members Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and John Hartman.

<i>Farewell Tour</i> (album) 1983 live album by The Doobie Brothers

Farewell Tour is the first live album by American rock band The Doobie Brothers, released in 1983. It documents the group's 1982 Farewell Tour and is a double album set.

<i>Rockin down the Highway: The Wildlife Concert</i> 1996 live album by The Doobie Brothers

Rockin’ Down the Highway: The Wildlife Concert is the second double live album by American rock band The Doobie Brothers, released in 1996. The concerts were performed to benefit the Wildlife Conservation Society, hence the album's title.

Michael McDonald (musician) singer-songwriter

Michael McDonald is an American singer-songwriter, keyboardist, and record producer known for his distinctive, soulful voice and as a member of the bands The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan (1974). McDonald wrote and sang several hit singles with The Doobie Brothers, including “What a Fool Believes,” “Minute By Minute,” and “Takin' It to the Streets.” McDonald has also performed as a prominent backing vocalist on numerous recordings by artists like Steely Dan, Christopher Cross, and Kenny Loggins. He is considered an influential figure in the development of the yacht rock genre.

Ted Templeman is an American record producer.

The Sweet Inspirations band

The Sweet Inspirations were an American R&B girl group founded by Emily "Cissy" Houston, mother of Whitney Houston, and sister of Lee Warwick. Houston and Warwick were members of The Drinkard Singers, a family group that had the distinction of recording the first Gospel album to appear on a major label—a live recording from The Newport Jazz Festival in 1959. The line-up included Judy Guions, Marie Epps, Larry Drinkard, Nicholas Drinkard, Ann Moss, Lee and Emily.

<i>Best of The Doobie Brothers Live</i> 1999 compilation album by The Doobie Brothers

Best of The Doobie Brothers Live is a live album released by The Doobie Brothers. It was the companion album to Rockin' down the Highway: The Wildlife Concert, only as a limited set. It was released in 1999.

<i>Yacht Rock</i> (web series) web video mockumentary

Yacht Rock is an online video series following the fictionalized lives and careers of American soft rock stars of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The series debuted on Channel 101 at the June 26, 2005 screening. It placed in the top five at subsequent screenings until the June 25, 2006 screening, where it placed seventh and was canceled. The show remained a popular download on Channel 101, convincing the creators to make two additional episodes independently. The 11th episode, featuring Jason Lee as Kevin Bacon, debuted during a screening at the Knitting Factory in New York City on December 27, 2007 and was later included with the other episodes on Channel 101. On May 5, 2010, the 12th and final episode of Yacht Rock was released onto YouTube and Channel 101. The series inspired the term "yacht rock" as a musical descriptor for the songs and artists it features.

<i>Outside: From the Redwoods</i> 1993 live album by Kenny Loggins

Outside: From the Redwoods is the second live album released by soft rock singer Kenny Loggins. Released August 1993, it is the recording of his June 1993 concert held "outside" at a venue located within a stand of giant redwood trees. The album features reworked versions of many of Loggins' songs, both from his solo work and his earlier work in Loggins and Messina. Michael McDonald gives a guest performance on a reworked version of their classic co-written, "What a Fool Believes", and R&B singer Shanice gives guest performances on "I Would Do Anything" and "Love Will Follow".

This Is It (Kenny Loggins song) Kenny Loggins song

"This Is It" is a song by American musician Kenny Loggins. It was released in 1979 as the lead single from his 1979 album Keep the Fire. It reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 17 on the Adult Contemporary chart. "This Is It" was also successful on the Hot Soul Singles chart, reaching number 19, it was one of two entries on this chart.

A Love Song (Loggins and Messina song) original song written and composed by Kenny Loggins and Dona Lyn George

"A Love Song" is a song written by Kenny Loggins and Dona Lyn George, first released by the folk-rock duo Loggins & Messina in 1973 on their album Full Sail. Country artist Anne Murray covered the song later that year for her album of the same name.

You Belong to Me (Carly Simon song) Carly Simon song

"You Belong to Me" is a song written by American singer-songwriters Carly Simon and Michael McDonald. Originally recorded by McDonald's rock group The Doobie Brothers for their seventh studio album, Livin' on the Fault Line (1977), the song was made famous by Simon herself when she recorded it for her seventh studio album, Boys in the Trees (1978). Released as the album's lead single, her version reached the top ten of the Billboard Pop Singles chart, peaking at #6, and remained on the chart for 18 weeks. Simon received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Female Vocalist in 1979. A live version of the song from The Doobie Brothers' 1983 album Farewell Tour would later chart on the Pop Singles chart at #79 in August 1983.

<i>No Lookin Back</i> 1985 studio album by Michael McDonald

No Lookin' Back is the second solo studio album by American musician Michael McDonald. It was originally released in July 1985, on the label Warner Bros. Records, three years after his debut album, If That's What It Takes; this was his last album to be released by Warner Bros. For the first time, he co-produced and wrote or co-wrote all of the tracks. It features contributions from guitarists Joe Walsh, Robben Ford and David Pack from Ambrosia, Jeff Porcaro on drums, plus the former Doobie Brothers member Willie Weeks on bass, and Cornelius Bumpus providing horns.

Minute by Minute (The Doobie Brothers song) single by The Doobie Brothers

"Minute by Minute" is a song written by Michael McDonald and Lester Abrams originally released by the Doobie Brothers on their 1978 album Minute by Minute. The single was released in April 1979, debuted at number 67 on 5 May 1979, and reached number 14 on 23–30 June 1979 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Song of the Year, but lost out to The Doobie Brothers' own "What a Fool Believes". It has since been covered by other artists, including The Temptations, Larry Carlton, Stanley Clarke, Peabo Bryson, Kim Pensyl, Helen Reddy, Bobby Lyle, and Rick Janus.

<i>Best of The Doobies Volume II</i> 1981 compilation album by The Doobie Brothers

"Best of the Doobies, Vol. II" was a compilation album by The Doobie Brothers released in November 1981. The album was released with 10 tracks, all of them singles from albums released before 1981. The album went Gold in the U.S. and peaked at #39 on Billboard 200 chart.

<i>Sweet Freedom</i> (Michael McDonald album) 1986 compilation album by Michael McDonald

Sweet Freedom is a compilation album by American singer and songwriter Michael McDonald, released in 1986 on the Warner Bros. label.


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