John Hartman, a musician who was instrumental in the formation of the Doobie Brothers and served as the band’s original drummer, passed away at the age of 72. On Thursday, the band shared the sad news about Hartman’s passing on their official social media pages, describing him as a showman, a great spirit, and a wild spirit.
The band stated that they remember John Hartman, who they referred to as “Little John,” on this day. During his time with the Doobies, John was known for his free-wheeling personality, extraordinary drumming, and charismatic stage presence.
Additionally, he was a close buddy over the course of many years and an essential component of the band’s personality! Between the early 1970s and the early 1990s, the musician, who was born and raised in Virginia, participated in a rock band for two separate periods of time.
In 1969, Hartman met the band’s frontman, Tom Johnston, and, later, finger-picking guitarist Pat Simmons in Northern California. Inspired by their musical chemistry, Hartman decided to form a band.
Because of tracks like “Listen to the Music” and “Jesus is Just Alright,” the band’s second studio album, Toulouse Street, became an instant favorite among fans almost as soon as it was released in 1972. Their first album, which was self-titled and released in 1971, failed to make a significant impact on the charts. The album reached its highest position on the Billboard 200 charts in 1972, where it peaked at No. 21.
According to Rolling Stone, Hartman left the band in 1979, after eight studio albums, before the release of their ninth album, One Step Closer, after a tense tour of Japan. This occurred after the band had already released eight albums.
Hartman described the situation as one in which everything was disintegrating. Ten years later, in 1989, Hartman returned to the band for the recording of the album Cycles. The following year, in 1991, he recorded the album Brotherhood before leaving the band once more, this time for good, in 1992.
In the year 2020, Hartman and the other members of the band who were still alive at the time, including Jeff Skunk Baxter, Michael Hossack, Tom Johnston, Keith Knudsen, Michael McDonald, John McFee, Tiran Porter, and Patrick Simmons, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.