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Tom Johnston


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Tom Johnston (b. August 15, 1948, Visalia, California) is a U.S. musician. He is a guitarist and vocalist and co-founded The Doobie Brothers with drummer John Hartman, guitarist Patrick Simmons and bassist Dave Shogren.

Tom’s favorite music as he grew up included Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Elvis Presley, James Brown, and other rhythm and blues artists featured on the radio in the 1950s. At the age of twelve, Tom took up guitar. He had formed his first band by age fourteen. In his early career he played in a variety of bands, including a Mexican wedding band that played half soul and half Latin music. His interest in rhythm and blues led to his singing in a soul group from a neighboring town and, eventually, his own blues band.

Tom moved to San Jose to finish college and started playing in bands around town. It was here that he met the legendary Skip Spence, original drummer with Jefferson Airplane and founding member of a group that had a major influence on the Doobie Brothers - Moby Grape. Skip introduced Tom to John Hartman. Johnston and Hartman soon formed their own band, “Pud”, featuring Gregg Murph on bass. “Pud” played many clubs in and around the greater San Jose market including the “Golden Horn Lounge” in Cupertino, Ca. which no longer exists. Murph was soon replaced by Shogren, Simmons was recruited, and “Pud” gave way to the Doobie Brothers.

Johnston wrote and sang many of the the Doobie Brothers’ early hits, including “Listen to the Music,” “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” “China Grove,” and “Long Train Runnin’.


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