John "Little John" Hartman, the founding drummer of the classic rockers The Doobie Brothers, has died at 72, as Ultimate Classic Rock reported this week.

Hartman played on all of the Doobies' hits of the 1970s, including "Listen to the Music" (1972), "Jesus Is Just Alright" (1972) and "Takin' It to the Streets" (1976). The drummer's visage is prominent on the cover art of the band's 1971 self-titled debut album.

Hartman was a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; The Doobie Brothers were inducted in 2020. The group, who still record and tour today, told fans about his death in a message online. They did not mention the cause of death or indicate when he died.

"Today we are thinking of John Hartman, or Little John to us," The Doobie Brothers said in a statement on Thursday (Sept. 22). "John was a wild spirit, great drummer, and showman during his time in the Doobies."

The Doobie Brothers
'The Doobie Brothers,' 1971 (Warner Bros.)

The band added, "He was also a close friend for many years and 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."

Hartman performed with The Doobie Brothers until 1979, later returning for a second stint with the act when they reformed in 1987. He retired from the outfit in 1992. In the band's early days, second drummer Michael Hossack performed alongside Hartman in the Doobies. Hossack died in 2012.

Hartman was born on March 18, 1950, in Falls Church, Virginia. He relocated to San Jose, California, circa 1970, where he would form what would become The Doobie Brothers with the singer and guitarist Tom Johnston. The two had been introduced by Skip Spence, the late co-founder of the psychedelic rockers Moby Grape.

Loudwire expresses deep sympathy for Hartman's family, friends and bandmates.

Doobie Brothers Statement - Sept. 22, 2022

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