Doobie Brothers singer-guitarist Tom Johnston says “Long Train Runnin'” had a couple of other names before he finally wrote lyrics for it. He recalls that it was their producer, Ted Templeman, who leaned on him to finish the song.
“We played it for a long time before we were signed — we had that song together. We didn’t have the words and I ended up writing the words that are on the record after we cut the tracks for the album. We didn’t even put it on the first and second album, it wasn’t on until the third one. I didn’t think it was worth recording at the time, I just thought it was too simple and so what. And [producer] Teddy [Templeman] thought it was a good song. He says, ‘C’mon, man, it’s a good song, let’s record it.’ And surprisingly enough, everybody really liked it. It’s not that I didn’t like the song, I just didn’t think it was anything outstanding. But what do I know?”
Happy Birthday Doobie Brothers guitarist John McFee, who’s been with the group since 1979, was born on September 9th, 1950.