John Hartman: Doobie Brothers founder dies at 72, drummer remembered as a 'wild spirit'
John Hartman was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020 as a Doobie Brothers member in 2020
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA: The co-founder of the Doobie Brothers, John Hartman, who was also the band’s first drummer, has died at the age of 72. The tragic news was announced on the rock band’s official Instagram as well as Twitter handle that described him as “a wild spirit”.
The message posted on Thursday, September 22, read, “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's personality! We send our condolences to all his loved ones at this difficult time. Rest In Peace John.”
As per reports, the Virginia-native met singer and guitarist Tom Johnston in 1970 after coming to San Jose, California. “Hartman and Johnston began playing local Bay Area bars. They soon met singer/guitarist Pat Simmons, whose finger-style playing richly complimented Johnston’s R&B strumming-style, and the foundation for The Doobie Brothers was set,” the official site of the band states.
“While their debut album in 1971 did not chart, just a year later, their second record, Toulouse Street, became a breakout sensation. Producer Ted Templeman helped the band craft a sound that was organic, yet radio friendly, and brought in Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne to add unique musical textures,” it adds.
Though after 1979, Hartman discontinued work with the group, years later, he rejoined “for its 1989 reunion album ‘Cycles’. He then played with the Doobie Brothers again until he retired in 1992,” PEOPLE reported. Hartman was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020 as the Doobie Brothers’ member. Eight other performers of the band were also inducted at the time.
Hartman’s death has attracted a lot of tributes online, with a fan tweeting, “Condolences sincerely go out to all who loved him. Sure did enjoy his groove, and will as long as I’m around.” Another fan wrote, “John will always live in the hearts of Doobie Brothers fans. John was a ‘one and only’ and will be remembered with love and admiration.” The third one said, “John joins Keith, Dave, Michael, Chet, Bobby & Corny in one heck of a jam session over the Rainbow Bridge. May John's memory be a blessing to all those who loved him.”
Condolences sincerely go out to all who loved him. Sure did enjoy his groove, and will as long as I’m around.— 🅓🅘🅝🅖🇺🇸🅑🅔🅛🅛 (@DingBell5) September 23, 2022
John will always live in the hearts of Doobie Brothers fans. John was a "one and only" and will be remembered with love and admiration.— jeanine perry (@jbird810) September 23, 2022
John joins Keith, Dave, Michael, Chet, Bobby & Corny in one heck of a jam session over the Rainbow Bridge. May John's memory be a blessing to all those who loved him.— Lorraine Alden (@inkenheimer) September 22, 2022
On Instagram too, a lot of people remembered him with a user saying, “RIP John. So very sorry to hear this. Sending condolences to your band, family and friends. Such an AMAZING drummer. ❤️🙏”. The second user commented, “Rest in love and light, John. A great fan of this band for many years! 🤍🕊” “So sorry for the loss of your original bandmate & friend. Sending caring thoughts to you and to his family. 🥁🎶🙏,” another person noted.
“So sorry for your loss! My thoughts are with the band and John’s family ❤️,” a comment read. Another comment added, “Rock and Roll Heaven has another great member to add to the band..RIP John..🙏🙏🙏🙏.”