John Hartman, Doobie Brothers’ Founding Drummer, Dies at 72

The Doobie Brothers announced the death of drummer John Hartman Friday, collectively saying in a social media post, “Today we are thinking of John Hartman, or Little John to usJohn was a wild spirit, great drummer, and showman during his time in the Doobies.” He was 72. No cause of death was immediately announced.

Hartman, a co-founder of the group, was one of nine members of the Doobie Brothers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020. He had long since left the frequently reuniting band.

In 1971, the group added a second drummer – Michael Hossack – to its line-up, inaugurating the band’s unusual double-drum sound.

Hartman performed with the band from 1970 to 1979, and returned for another stint from 1987 to 1992. During his initial run with the group, the Doobies released a string of hits that would become staples of classic rock, including “China Grove,” “Listen To The Music,” “Jesus Is Just Alright,” “Black Water,” and “Takin’ It To The Streets,” among many others.

John Hartman, a founding member of the Doobie Brothers, has died at age 72, the band announced on social media Thursday. The cause of death was not immediately available. “John was a wild spirit, great drummer and showman,” the band said in a statement.

He was also a close friend for many years and an intricate part of the band personality.” Known for hits such as “Listen to the Music,” China Grove” and “Long Train Running’,” the Doobie Brothers formed in 1970 in San Jose, Calif.

Besides being a founding member of one of rock’s most enduring bands, Hartman was also known for his work outside the Doobies.

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