Minute by Minute (The Doobie Brothers song)

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"Minute by Minute"
The doobie brothers-minute by minute s.jpg
Single by The Doobie Brothers
from the album Minute by Minute
B-side"Sweet Feelin'"
ReleasedApril 1979
GenrePop rock, soft rock, R&B
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)Michael McDonald, Lester Abrams
Producer(s)Ted Templeman
The Doobie Brothers singles chronology
"What a Fool Believes"
"Minute by Minute"
"Dependin' on You"
Music video
"Minute by Minute" on YouTube

"Minute by Minute" is a song written by Michael McDonald and Lester Abrams originally released by the Doobie Brothers on their 1978 album Minute by Minute. The single was released in April 1979, debuted at number 67 on 5 May 1979, and reached number 14 on 23–30 June 1979 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[1] It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Song of the Year, but lost out to The Doobie Brothers' own "What a Fool Believes". It has since been covered by other artists, including The Temptations, Larry Carlton, Stanley Clarke, Peabo Bryson, Kim Pensyl, Helen Reddy, Bobby Lyle, and Rick Janus.[2][3][4]

Lyrics and music[edit]

AllMusic critic Matthew Greenwald describes "Minute by Minute" as one of the songs that reflects The Doobie Brothers' transformation to "a light, soul-oriented outfit."[5] Keyboards are more prominent in the song than in some of The Doobie Brothers' earlier hits.[6][7] Greenwald praises the "simple and literate" lyrics and notes possible influence from Booker T. & the M.G.'s in the music.[5] In their book Inside the Hits, authors Wayne Wadhams (The Fifth Estate), David Nathan, and Susan Lindsay describe the tempo as a "medium shuffle".[8] AXS contributor Bill Craig describes the song as a soulful, mid-tempo, piano-driven song that he compares to Motown songs.[4] Most of "Minute by Minute" is in the key of C major, but the bridge is in E minor and the last refrains are in G major.[8] The New Rolling Stone Album Guide praises McDonald's "suave vocal mastery" on the song.[9] Spin's Rich Stim describes the sound of the song as "phlegmatic".[10]

"Minute by Minute" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Song of the Year but lost to the Doobie Brothers' prior single, "What a Fool Believes".[11] Co-writer Michael McDonald was surprised by the song's success after a friend had told him that the song "just doesn't have it."[12] Craig rated it as the Doobie Brothers' 6th greatest song.[4]

Chart performance[edit]

In the US, "Minute by Minute" was the follow-up single to their number 1 hit "What a Fool Believes". "Minute by Minute" did not repeat its predecessor's success, but reached the Top 20, peaking at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[1] It also reached number 74 on Billboard's R&B singles chart[1] as well as number 13 on the Adult Contemporary chart.[13]

The song also had some chart success outside the US, reaching number 34 in New Zealand and 47 in the UK.[14][15]

Chart history[edit]

The Doobie Brothers
Chart (1979) Peak
Canada RPM Top Singles 17
New Zealand[16] 34
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[17] 47
US Billboard Hot 100[18] 14
US Billboard Adult Contemporary 13
US Billboard R&B 74
US Cash Box Top 100[19] 13
Peabo Bryson
Chart (1980) Peak
US Billboard R&B 12


Additional Personnel

Other appearances[edit]

"Minute by Minute" has appeared on a number of Doobie Brothers' compilation albums since its initial release. It was included on Best of the Doobies, Vol. 2 in 1981, Greatest Hits in 2001 and The Very Best of The Doobie Brothers in 2007.[5] It has also appeared on a number of live albums, including Farewell Tour in 1983, The Best of the Doobie Brothers Live in 1999 and Live at the Greek Theatre 1982 in 2011.[5] On July 30, 1979, The Doobie Brothers performed "Minute by Minute" on the Dinah! show.[23]

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Minute by Minute singles: Charts and Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  2. ^ a b "Minute by Minute covers". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  3. ^ a b c "Helen Reddy–Reddy". Billboard. June 2, 1979. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  4. ^ a b c Craig, Bill. "Top 10 best The Doobie Brothers songs". AXS. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  5. ^ a b c d Greenwald, M. "Minute by Minute". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  6. ^ Rideout, E. (2010). Keyboard Presents: Classic Rock. Hal Leaonard. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-87930-952-7.
  7. ^ Grien, P. (July 14, 1979). "Talent in Action: Doobie Brothers, Roger Voudouris". p. 27. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  8. ^ a b Wadhams, W.; Nathan, D. & Lindsay, S.G. (2001). Inside the Hits. Berklee Press. pp. 23, 399–400. ISBN 978-0-634-01430-7.
  9. ^ Sisario, B.; et al. (2004). Brackett, N.; Hoard, C.D. (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon and Schuster. pp. 253–254. ISBN 978-0-7432-0169-8.
  10. ^ Stim, R. (September 1989). "The Doobie Brothers: Cycles". Spin. p. 90. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  11. ^ "Grammy Awards 1980". Awards and Shows. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  12. ^ Morse, T. (1998). Classic rock stories: the stories behind the greatest songs of all time. MacMillan. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-312-18067-6.
  13. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 75.
  14. ^ "The Doobie Brothers – Minute by Minute". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  15. ^ "Doobie Brothers". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
  16. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. 1979-05-15. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  17. ^ "Official Charts". 14 July 1979. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  18. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  19. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending June 23, 1979". Archived from the original on 5 February 2011. Retrieved 2018-04-03.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)Cash Box magazine.
  20. ^ https://www.moderndrummer.com/2010/10/keith-knudsen/
  21. ^ https://www.moderndrummer.com/2010/10/keith-knudsen/
  22. ^ https://www.moderndrummer.com/2010/10/keith-knudsen/
  23. ^ Bego, M. (2005). Jackson Browne: His Life and Music. Citadel Press. pp. 112–113. ISBN 978-0-8065-2642-3.
  24. ^ Donovan, C. "Reddy". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  25. ^ Planer, L. "Anthology". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  26. ^ Mockingbird Foundation (2004). The Phish companion: a guide to the band and their music (2nd ed.). Hal Leonard. ISBN 978-0-87930-799-8.
  27. ^ Thompson, D. (1997). Go Phish. MacMillan. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-312-16854-4.
  28. ^ Henderson, A. "Back to Front". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  29. ^ Grey, H. (October 1994). "Currents". JazzTimes. p. 50. Retrieved 2012-02-15.

External links[edit]