Okay Popdose citizens, it’s time for a quiz: Tomorrow is a very important day that demands your attention and appreciation. Do you know why that is?

If you answered that it is the beginning of Valentine’s Day Weekend, you are technically correct, but that’s not the answer that I’m looking for in today’s lesson. For more on that topic, I’ll direct you to my good pal and occasional political enemy D.W. Dunphy and his feelings on love. Hold me.

The correct answer: Friday is the birthday of blue eyed soul brother #1, Michael McDonald! McDonald is practically the patron saint of Popdose, and the most discussed artist in ‘Dose history. Our team of statisticians combed through the entire site and discovered an astounding 884 mentions of McDonald.

Can I get an amen?


McDonald has been busy in recent years, re-recording the entire recorded history of Motown, releasing cleverly titled albums like Motown and Motown Two. McD finally figured out what he should have known all the way back in the ’80s — if you are Michael McDonald, you can record an album of Motown songs in two days, and six months later, sell 2.5 million copies as a result of those couple of days worth of work. To change things up occasionally, the McD playbook also contains provisions for recording large amounts of Christmas music, another guaran-damn-teed play that will generate a visit to your house by a fleet of Brinks trucks, all loaded with ca$h money, son!

As a multi-instrumentalist, McD has been known to step out from behind the keyboards on occasion, demonstrated most recently during his holiday appearances promoting yet another holiday release, which found him strumming a bit of ukulele during his performance of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” It was such an unbelievable sight that all video evidence of his ukulele performance has been scrubbed from the internet.

When you’re as talented as McD, naturally you slowly acquire your share of haters, or as I like to refer to them, non-believers. Popdose’s own Robert Cass has been known to openly speak negatively about McDonald’s solo catalog. I know, it’s unbelievable. I’ll completely understand if you don’t believe me. Don’t worry, the buck of negativity stops here, because I’ve got nothing but love for Michael McDonald.

For nearly 20 years, dating back to February of 1991, I’ve been sending Valentine’s Day cards (with birthday wishes) to Michael McDonald. Not once has McDonald acknowledged my correspondence and well wishes with a return note. Even when he was in the studio with my pals Grizzly Bear, cuttin’ grooves, my phone did not ring once, despite my attempts to have my Bear bros connect McD and I for a moment.

It’s all good, really it is.

The first time I heard McDonald’s music was on Friday Night Videos, where I saw the video for “Yah Mo B There” for the first time. In the video, McDonald and his singing partner James Ingram were on the run. On the run from whom, you ask? Kenny Loggins and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. It seems that Loggins got a bit torqued off about something, and said “this is it” to Baxter, and with that, the pair jumped into Baxter’s Jeep Wagoneer and took off in pursuit of McDonald and Ingram.

Luckily, McDonald and Ingram were able to outfox and escape the harmful intentions of Loggins and Baxter. McDonald continued to build a successful solo career, and two years later, made this appearance in Los Angeles at the Wiltern Theatre. In a set that was heavy on material from his latest album, No Lookin’ Back, there was plenty of room for old favorites, including a three song sucker punch of Doobie favorites. As you’ll hear for yourself, McDonald was a total badass in the ’80s, mesmerizing the Los Angeles audience with his seemingly endless selection of synth patches to choose from, soul singin’ and yes, even a real drummer (George Perelli), even though the drums sound like a drum machine. That’s the way they did it back then.

Is it just me, or is he singing “so everything you see, is Dave Navarro” during the first verse of “By Heart?”

What does that mean?

Happy birthday to you, Michael McDonald.

Stay awesome.

Listen to this entire show at Concert Vault by clicking here.

About the Author

Matt Wardlaw

Matt Wardlaw is a music lifer with nearly 20 years of experience in the industry. Of course you all have shoes older than that, but that's okay, Matt realizes that he's still a rookie. His byline has appeared in the Riverfront Times (St. Louis), Cleveland Scene, Blogcritics, Music's Bottom Line and Ultimate Classic Rock, among others. In addition to writing for Popdose, Matt also has his own music blog called Addicted to Vinyl where he writes about a variety of subjects including but not limited to vinyl. In his spare time, Matt enjoys long walks in the park, Cherone-era Van Halen and driving long distances to Night Ranger concerts.

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