Minute by Minute (The Doobie Brothers song)

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"Minute by Minute"
The doobie brothers-minute by minute s.jpg
Single by The Doobie Brothers
from the album Minute by Minute
B-side Sweet Feelin'
Released April 1979
Format 7"
Recorded 1978
Genre Pop rock, R&B
Length 3:26
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Michael McDonald, Lester Abrams
Producer(s) Ted Templeman
The Doobie Brothers singles chronology
"What a Fool Believes"
"Minute by Minute"
"Dependin' on You"

"Minute by Minute" is a song written by Michael McDonald and Lester Abrams originally released by the Doobie Brothers on their 1978 album Minute by Minute. The single was released in April 1979, debuted at number 67 on 5 May 1979, and reached number 14 on 23–30 June 1979 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[1] It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Song of the Year, but lost out to The Doobie Brothers' own "What a Fool Believes". It has since been covered by other artists, including The Temptations, Larry Carlton, Stanley Clarke, Peabo Bryson, Kim Pensyl, Helen Reddy, Bobby Lyle, and Rick Janus.[2][3]

Lyrics and music[edit]

AllMusic critic Matthew Greenwald describes "Minute by Minute" as one of the songs that reflects The Doobie Brothers' transformation to "a light, soul-oriented outfit."[4] Keyboards are more prominent in the song than in some of The Doobie Brothers' earlier hits.[5][6] Greenwald praises the "simple and literate" lyrics and notes possible influence from Booker T. & the M.G.'s in the music.[4] In their book Inside the Hits, authors Wayne Wadhams (The Fifth Estate), David Nathan, and Susan Lindsay describe the tempo as a "medium shuffle".[7] Most of "Minute by Minute" is in the key of C major, but the bridge is in E minor and the last refrains are in G major.[7] The New Rolling Stone Album Guide praises McDonald's "suave vocal mastery" on the song.[8] Spin's Rich Stim describes the sound of the song as "phlegmatic".[9]

"Minute by Minute" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Song of the Year but lost to the Doobie Brothers' prior single, "What a Fool Believes".[10] Co-writer Michael McDonald was surprised by the song's success after a friend had told him that the song "just doesn't have it."[11]

Chart performance[edit]

In the US, "Minute by Minute" was the follow-up single to their number 1 hit "What a Fool Believes". "Minute by Minute" did not repeat its predecessor's success, but reached the Top 20, peaking at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[1] It also reached number 74 on Billboard's R&B singles chart.[1] The song also had some chart success outside the US, reaching number 34 in New Zealand and 47 in the UK.[12][13]

Other appearances[edit]

"Minute by Minute" has appeared on a number of Doobie Brothers' compilation albums since its initial release. It was included on Best of the Doobies, Vol. 2 in 1981, Greatest Hits in 2001 and The Very Best of The Doobie Brothers in 2007.[4] It has also appeared on a number of live albums, including Farewell Tour in 1983, The Best of the Doobie Brothers Live in 1999 and Live at the Greek Theatre 1982 in 2011.[4] On July 30, 1979, The Doobie Brothers performed "Minute by Minute" on the Dinah! show.[14]

Cover versions[edit]

The Temptations covered "Minute by Minute" on their 2007 album Back to Front.[15] It has also been covered by jazz musicians Larry Carlton, Stanley Clarke, Kim Pensyl and Bobby Lyle.[2] JazzTimes described Stanley Clarke's cover as "straight pop joy".[16] Helen Reddy covered the song on her 1979 album Reddy.[3][17] Billboard picked Reddy's version as one of the best cuts on the album, calling it "a super single possibility."[3] Peabo Bryson included "Minute by Minute" on his 2001 album Anthology.[18] Phish covered "Minute by Minute" at a few concerts in 1990.[19][20]

Meek Mill used this track on his single "Amen" featuring Drake and Jeremih.


  1. ^ a b c "Minute by Minute singles: Charts and Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  2. ^ a b "Minute by Minute covers". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  3. ^ a b c "Helen Reddy–Reddy". Billboard. June 2, 1979. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  4. ^ a b c d Greenwald, M. "Minute by Minute". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  5. ^ Rideout, E. (2010). Keyboard Presents: Classic Rock. Hal Leaonard. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-87930-952-7. 
  6. ^ Grien, P. (July 14, 1979). "Talent in Action: Doobie Brothers, Roger Voudouris". p. 27. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  7. ^ a b Wadhams, W., Nathan, D. & Lindsay, S.G. (2001). Inside the Hits. Berklee Press. pp. 23, 399–400. ISBN 978-0-634-01430-7. 
  8. ^ Sisario, B.; et al. (2004). Brackett, N.; Hoard, C.D., eds. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon and Schuster. pp. 253–254. ISBN 978-0-7432-0169-8. 
  9. ^ Stim, R. (September 1989). "The Doobie Brothers: Cycles". Spin. p. 90. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  10. ^ "Grammy Awards 1980". Awards and Shows. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  11. ^ Morse, T. (1998). Classic rock stories: the stories behind the greatest songs of all time. MacMillan. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-312-18067-6. 
  12. ^ "The Doobie Brothers – Minute by Minute". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  13. ^ "Doobie Brothers". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  14. ^ Bego, M. (2005). Jackson Browne: His Life and Music. Citadel Press. pp. 112–113. ISBN 978-0-8065-2642-3. 
  15. ^ Henderson, A. "Back to Front". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  16. ^ Grey, H. (October 1994). "Currents". JazzTimes. p. 50. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  17. ^ Donovan, C. "Reddy". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  18. ^ Planer, L. "Anthology". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  19. ^ Mockingbird Foundation (2004). The Phish companion: a guide to the band and their music (2nd ed.). Hal Leonard. ISBN 978-0-87930-799-8. 
  20. ^ Thompson, D. (1997). Go Phish. MacMillan. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-312-16854-4. 

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