The Tragic Death Of Doobie Brothers Drummer John Hartman

The Doobie Brothers is one of California's best-known and highly acclaimed rock bands, praised for their musical versatility and ability to perform across numerous genres. 

After forming in 1970, the Doobie Brothers quickly rose to fame and started releasing numerous Billboard Hot 100 hits, such as "China Grove," "Long Train Runnin'," and "Black Water." Throughout the years, they have won two Grammy Awards from four nominations, and were even inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in late 2020. All in all, they have sold over 48 million albums (including multi-Platinum albums), and, unlike many rock bands of the '60s and '70s, are still going strong today, over five decades after their formation. 

However, fans of the Doobie Brothers are facing some sad news this week, in light of the tragic death of one of their founding members: drummer John Hartman, who died at the age of only 72. 

Doobie Brothers announce the death of John Hartman

On September 22, the Doobie Brothers announced on their official Twitter and Instagram pages that John Hartman, their drummer and one of three founding members still alive (along with Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons, both of whom still remain in the band) had died. The band did not share a cause of death.

"Today we are thinking of John Hartman, or Little John to us," the band wrote. "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 personality! We send our condolences to all his loved ones at this difficult time. Rest In Peace John." 

According to their biography, Hartman helped to found the band in 1969 when he was introduced to fellow musician Tom Johnston — who was a singer and guitarist — and they began playing together in local bars in the Bay Area. After they later met Pat Simmons, the band's prospects only took off from there. After a decades-long on-off relationship with the band, Hartman fully retired from playing in 1992, following a brief reunion to benefit their terminally ill percussionist, Bobby LaKind, who died only a few months later. However, Hartman's influence will no doubt live on.