On this day in music history: August 9, 1982 – “If That’s What It Takes”, the debut solo album by Michael McDonald is released. Produced by Ted Templeman and Lenny Waronker, it is recorded at Warner Bros Recording Studios in North Hollywood, CA, Sunset Sound Recorders and Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood, CA from Late 1981 – Mid 1982. Having taken The Doobie Brothers to even greater success after joining in 1975, the endless cycle of recording and touring as well as increasing musical differences between the band members take their toll. After releasing the album “One Step Closer” in 1980, Toward the end of 1981, Michael McDonald begins recording his first solo album, working with long time Doobies producer Ted Templeman and Warner Bros staff producer and label executive Lenny Waronker. Calling on various friends many of whom represent the cream of the crop of L.A. studio players, join McDonald in the studio. That group includes Toto members Jeff Porcaro (drums) and Steve Lukather (guitar), Louis Johnson of The Brothers Johnson, Willie Weeks, Mike Porcaro (bass), Greg Phillinganes, Michael Boddicker (synthesizers, keyboards), Steve Gadd (drums), Robben Ford, Dean Parks (guitars), Tom Scott (lyricon), Edgar Winter (saxophone), Paulinho Da Costa, Bobby LaKind, Lenny Castro (percussion), Kenny Loggins, Christopher Cross, Brenda Russell, Maureen McDonald, Kathy Walker and Amy Holland. The first single “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)” (#4 Pop, #7 R&B, #8 AC) co-written with Ed Sanford of the Sanford/Townsend Band (“Smoke From A Distant Fire”), the cool and soulful song is an immediate multi-format smash. While it’s climbing the charts, songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller file suit, claiming that it is similar to their song of the same name originally recorded by Chuck Jackson in 1962. The suit is settled with Leiber and Stoller’s names added to the songwriting credits and being awarded royalties. The follow up “I Gotta Try” (#44, #28 AC) is co-written with old friend Kenny Loggins, records it himself and releases it on his fourth album “High Adventure” in September 1982. McDonald’s first solo album dove tails into the major success he enjoys throughout the 80’s and beyond. More than a decade later, “I Keep Forgettin’” resurfaces in sample form when Warren G. uses it as the basis of his huge hit “Regulate” (#2 Pop, #7 R&B, #1 Rap) in 1994. “Forgettin’” and “Regulate” are also the subjects of an episode of the popular online video series “Yacht Rock”. Both songs become plot devices in a hilarious fictionalized account in which Warren G. and Nate Dogg accidentally hit McDonald with their car, while the musician is out jogging. Originally released on CD in 1990, it is remastered and reissued as an SHM-CD by Warner Japan in 2016. “If That’s What It Takes” peaks at number six on the Billboard Top 200, number ten on the R&B album chart and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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