Doobie Brothers Drummer John Hartman Dead At 72

Doobie Brothers Drummer John Hartman Dead At 72

Doobie Brothers’ drummer and co-founding member John Hartman has died. The news was confirmed by the band’s official social channels, where they wrote: “Today we are thinking of John Hartman, or Little John to us. John was a wild spirit, great drummer, and showman during his time in the Doobies. He was also a close friend for many years and an intricate part of the band personality! We send our condolences to all his loved ones at this difficult time. Rest in peace John.” Hartman was 72.

Born in 1950 in Falls Church, Virginia, Hartman formed the Doobie Brothers with singer and guitarist Tom Johnston in 1970 in San Jose, California. In 1971, the band added a second drummer, Michael Hossack (then replaced by Keith Knudsen in 1973), and the two-drummer formation remained until 2016 when Ed Toth became the band’s sole drummer. Each of the band’s first three drummers — Hartman, Hossack, and Knudsen — swapped around with each other in the lineup, with Hartman playing 1970 to 1979 and 1987 to 1992, Hossack playing 1971–1973 and 1987–2012, and Knudsen playing from 1973–1982 and 1993–2005.

Hartman played on all of the Doobie Brothers’ hits in the 1970s. He also played on the 1989 reunion album Cycles and 1991’s Brotherhood. Hartman retired from the band in 1992 but was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as part of the Doobie Brothers in 2020.

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