John Hartman A “Doobie Brothers” Drummer Passed Away At The Age Of 72

The original drummer of the American rock band The Doobie Brothers, John Hartman, has died at the age of 72. Although the band issued a statement announcing Hartman’s death, they did not specify the cause or date of his death. During his tenure with the company, John Hartman was described as a “wild spirit, brilliant drummer, and showman,” according to the statement. The band expressed their sympathies to Hartman’s family, noting that he was an “intricate element” of the band’s identity. John Hartman co-founded the original Doobie Brothers with guitars and singers Patrick Simmons and Tom Johnston in the early 1970s. Hartman was the Doobie Brothers’ drummer for their first eight albums, beginning with their debut in 1971. Ted Templeman produced the self-titled album.

He also appeared on hit singles such as 1972’s Listen To The Music, 1973’s Long Train Runnin, and 1978’s What a Fool Believes. The third tune went on to become the band’s No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. In 2020, John Hartman will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Doobie Brothers.

John Hartman

Tributes to late Doobie Brothers drummer John Hartman stream in.

Fans of rock & roll and the Doobie Brothers were devastated by Hartman’s passing and rushed to social media to express their grief. Some stated he will be “remembered with love and adoration,” while others said they would never forget him or his music.

John Hartman’s early career

Skip Spence of Moby Grape introduced Hartman to Tom Johnston, who impressed Hartman with his strength. Hartman commented on Johnston, with whom he also shared a residence, in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2020:

“It was really loud when Johnston switched on.” Soon after, the police arrived and said, ‘You’ve got to stop.’ As a result, we toned it down.”

John Hartman


Later additions to the group included guitarist Patrick Simmons and bassist Dave Shogren. Hartman met the couple while performing in Northern California Bay Area pubs. Hartman was born in Falls Church, Virginia on March 18, 1950. Hartman moved to San Jose in 1970 and established The Doobie Brothers. He was a member of the band until 1979 when it dissolved. The Doobie Brothers returned in 1987, following a five-year break, to play at a benefit event for the Vietnam Veterans Aid Foundation. That same year, the band reformed, and Hartman returned as a drummer. He appeared on two later reunion albums, Cycles (1989) and Brotherhood (1991). Hartman officially quit the band in 1992. Hartman was a member of the band from 1970 until 1979, and then again from 1987 to 1992.

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