The Doobie Brothers drummer and co-founder John Hartman has died

John Hartman, drummer and co-founder of The Doobie Brothers, has died aged 72.

Hartman’s death was confirmed last Thursday (September 22) according to a post by the band.

“Today we are thinking of John Hartman, or Little John to us. John was a wild spirit, great drummer, and showman during his time in the Doobies. He was also a close friend for many years and an intricate part of the band personality! We send our condolences to all his loved ones at this difficult time. Rest in peace John” they wrote.


No cause of death has yet been confirmed by the band or Hartman’s family.

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Born in 1950 in Falls Church, Virginia, Hartman formed The Doobie Brothers with singer and guitarist Tom Johnston along with guitarist and vocalist Patrick Simmons in 1970 in San Jose, California.

He served as the band’s drummer on each of their first eight albums, and performed on popular tracks including 1972’s ‘Listen To The Music’, 1973’s ‘Long Train Runnin” and 1978’s ‘What A Fool Believes’.

Hartman left the band after 1979 and returned for their 1989 reunion album ‘Cycles’ until he retired in 1992.


The band are currently in the middle of a 50th anniversary tour, although Hartman was not part of the reunion.

In 2020, Hartman was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a member of The Doobie Brothers, along with eight other members of the band.

They became eligible for induction more than 20 years ago in 1996 but didn’t receive their first nomination until their induction in 2020.

“I was wondering why it took so long for them to nominate us, and then to actually be inducted the first time around was pretty random,” Simmons said at the time. “I thought it’d happen (eventually), but I didn’t think I’d be around to enjoy it.”