Watch Doobie Brothers Play ‘Long Train Runnin” Live: Exclusive
The Doobie Brothers have racked up a number of accomplishments during their four-plus decades as a band, including Grammy awards and album sales totaling more than 48 million.
In November 2018, they took up residence at the Beacon Theatre in New York City for a pair of shows that marked their first time at the legendary venue in 25 years.
They performed full-album concerts featuring two of their classic records: 1972’s Toulouse Street and 1973’s The Captain and Me. They played classic hits like “Listen To The Music,” “China Grove” and “Jesus Is Just Alright,” as well as deeper cuts from the albums.
The shows were memorable for both the band and fans who were there. The sets were recorded and will be available on June 28 as The Doobie Brothers: Live From the Beacon Theatre in both audio and video formats.
You can watch an exclusive video featuring “Long Train Runnin’” from the upcoming set below.
“That song was a jam for the longest time, it literally was,” Doobies singer and guitarist Tom Johnston tells UCR. “I would make up different words every night while we were playing it live, because we were in clubs and it didn’t really matter. The only thing we had was ‘Without love, where would you be now?’"
Album producer Ted Templeman urged the group to finish what he saw as the beginnings of a track that could potentially be huge. Johnston didn’t see Templeman’s vision, at least at first. “I said, ‘Man, it’s just a jam. It’s fun to play, but I don’t know that it’s going to make a great song on an album,'" he recalls. "I was wrong, he was right.”
Johnston points out that the final version of the song didn’t change much from that initial jam; it just needed lyrics. Templeman told him, "Why don’t you write it about a train?" "I said, 'Okay, that sounds good, I like that,'" he recalls. "I went in and wrote the words as they are now, and then the whole train motif [came after that]. We put the lyrics on and got the harmonies, and I played the harp solo -- which is something we weren’t doing live -- and it came together."
It paid off in a big way. “It’s funny, because it went higher and was more successful than 'Listen to the Music,' as far as radio play,” Johnston notes. “Everybody loves it live to this day. It’s a big home run. You’ve got 'Black Water,' 'Long Train Runnin’,' 'China Grove' and 'Listen to the Music' -- those are the ones that you play every night, because the people would be pissed at you if you didn’t."