Black Water – The Doobie Brothers | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1); 1975

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

In June of 1974, Another Park, Another Sunday by the Doobie Brothers reached its peak of #32: not exactly a performance to match that of Listen To The Music (#11; 1972) or Long Train Runnin’ (#8; 1973).

Park‘s B-side, Black Water, passed by unnoticed as the Doobie’s released Eyes Of Silver and re leased the 1971 single Nobody, in futile attempts to score another radio hit.

Finally, a station in the South started to spin Black Water, and others jumped on the bandwagon. The song originated with guitarist Patrick Simmons, who wrote it as a simple acoustic number about the Mississippi River.

It’s Simmons’ acoustic guitar that opens Black Water and – along with his lead vocal – sets the down-home, back-porch tone of the first part of the record. A later a cappella breakdown made Black Water an irresistible sing-a long.

Peaking in March, 1975, it was also the high-water mark for co-founder Tom Johnston, whose recurring stomach ulcers sidelined him, paving the way for Michael McDonald and his pop-soul reworking of the Doobies.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Ted Templeman

Lyrics Written by:

  • Patrick Simmons