Every time I play this song, someone is waiting to break out the lyrics to “Regulate” by Warren G featuring Nate Dogg. Okay, maybe on occasion that someone is me. But not always. Because I know where that sample in “Regulate” came from. And as big of a hit as “Regulate” was, and as popular as it still is in some circles, the rest of us know the song as “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near) by Michael McDonald. That hit by the one-time Doobie Brother is today’s Morning Groove.
If he never does anything else musically, McDonald has had a pretty good career. Starting out working with Steely Dan—first on tour and then on background vocals from their albums Katy Lied through to Gaucho. Not long after starting his association with Steely Dan, McDonald was asked to become a temporary fill-in for Tom Johnston with the Doobie Brothers. He became a permanent member through their first farewell tour. And while all that was going on, he found time to do session work for others, including Christopher Cross, Bonnie Raitt, Toto and Kenny Loggins. That doesn’t even include his #1 hit “On My Own,” sung with Patti LaBelle, or his Grammy winning duet with James Ingram, “Yah Mo B There.” Or even his Motown tribute albums from 2003 and 2004.
Today’s song was his first solo single, taken from his first solo album If That’s What It Takes, from 1982. Louis Johnson from the Brothers Johnson played bass on this one, and McDonald’s sister Maureen sang backup. It was a big hit, reaching the top ten on both Billboard’s Hot 100 and #7 on the R&B chart. The song was found to have a similarity to an earlier song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller called “I Keep Forgettin'” that was recorded by Chuck Jackson in the 1960’s. Because of that finding, Leiber and Stoller were given songwriting credit, along with McDonald and Ed Sanford, the original writers of the song.
Some may know it only from “Regulate,” but it was perfectly fine in its original form. I hope you enjoy today’s Morning Groove. As always, thanks for reading and listening.