On Jan. 4, 1975, the Doobie Brothers’ What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits entered the Billboard Top LPs & Tape chart at #169. It would eventually rise to #4 in the US.
This was the fourth album from the Doobie Brothers, and it generated three singles. The first, guitarist Tom Johnston’s heartache slow song, “Another Park, Another Sunday,” peaked at #32 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was followed by Johnston’s “Eyes of Silver,” which stopped at #52.
So Warner Bros. Records decided to go back into the band’s catalogue and re-release Johnston’s song “Nobody” from the band’s debut LP, which had gone nowhere when it was initially released in 1971. But then an odd thing happened. The B-Side to “Another Park, Another Sunday” started getting airplay on radio stations. The quirky tune, with its Cajun qualities and distinct violin instrumentation, was becoming popular, especially for its memorable a cappella chant near the song’s ending. Guitarist and lead singer Patrick Simmons’ “Black Water” became a surprise hit – the first #1 single for the Doobie Brothers.
What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits closes with two songs that give hints to where the Doobie Brothers would head in two years when Michael McDonald joined the group. “Daughters of the Sea,” written by Simmons, has guitar riffs that will be heard again on Takin’ It to the Streets. “Flying Cloud,” a calming and spacey instrumental written by bassist Tiran Porter, shows hints of Porter’s next composition for the group: the beautifully haunting “For Someone Special.”
( Side Note: This was the only video clip I could find with these two Doobie Brothers songs … I hope you like the digital artwork of Kagaya Yutaka … if not, just open another window and, as the Doobies might sing, listen to the music … )