In 1988, when I was 10, my parents and I went to the U.S. and Canada. We spent a week in Toronto, and then went on a road trip over the next fortnight. We drove down to Washington D.C., and then up to New York City, Plymouth, Boston, over the border into Montreal, and then back to Toronto.
During those two long, hot, stuffy weeks in a rental car, I was given a crash-course into good music. Not long after we set off, my Dad bought a double cassette of The Best Of The Doobies / The Best Of The Doobies Vol. 2 to play in the car, and this became the soundtrack for the holiday.
Up to that point, music hadn’t really found me. Michael Jackson had released Bad a year earlier in 1987, and although I liked that record – and all the hype surrounding it – I still felt like an outsider to music in general. The Doobie Brothers, strangely enough (for a 10-year old boy in 1988), were my way in.
I couldn’t really think of a better band to soundtrack an American road trip. Every night we stayed in a different motel, and I’d go and find the Pepsi machine and ice bin. Every meal was at a roadside diner, and we even ate at the sort of places that had tabletop jukebox machines, just like on the cover of this album.
I don’t know why, but although I continued to listen to The Doobs when I got home, I didn’t really bother looking for anything else to listen to. I think listening to this album rekindled my interest in Huey Lewis & The News, much to the amusement of Shaunee Lever, but essentially I was still too young to get into music big-time. That would happen a few years down the road.
To this day, I still haven’t been back to the USA, but you can bet that when I do I’ll be playing this album in our rental car.
Hit: Long Train Runnin’
Hidden Gem: Black Water