Hartman played on many of the Doobies’ hit songs of the 1970s, including “Listen to the Music” (1972), “Jesus Is Just Alright” (1972) and “Takin’ It to the Streets” (1976). The drummer’s face features prominently on the cover art for the band’s 1971 self-titled debut album.
Hartman was a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; The Doobie Brothers were inducted in 2020. The group, which is still recording and touring today, told fans of his death in a message online. They did not mention the cause of death or indicate when he died.
“Today we’re thinking of John Hartman, or Little John to us,” The Doobie Brothers said in a statement Thursday (September 22). “John was a wild spirit, great drummer and showman during his time in the Doobies.”
The band added: “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.”
Hartman performed with The Doobie Brothers until 1979, later returning for a second stint with the act when they reformed in 1987. He retired from the outfit in 1992. In the band’s early days, second drummer Michael Hossack appeared with Hartman in the Doobies. Hossack died in 2012.
Hartman was born on March 18, 1950 in Falls Church, Virginia. He moved to San Jose, California, around 1970, where he would form what would become The Doobie Brothers with singer and guitarist Tom Johnston. The two had been introduced by Skip Spence, the late co-founder of psychedelic rockers Moby Grape.
Loudwire extends its deepest sympathies to Hartman’s family, friends and bandmates.
Doobie Brothers Statement – Sep 22, 2022
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