What a Fool Believes: A Memoir

Dey Street. May 2024. 336p. ISBN 9780063357563. $32. MEMOIR
Yacht rock—the neologism for a style of soft rock from the late 1970s and early ’80s—has many big names, but none have made their presence felt across the genre more than McDonald. As a solo artist, member of the Doobie Brothers and backing vocalist on dozens of classics, McDonald’s uniquely soulful voice is practically a signature on a song. Steely Dan, Kenny Loggins, Christopher Cross, and many others have utilized his vocal talents to take their songs up a notch. How this Midwest musician from modest beginnings became such a recognizable star is the subject of this autobiography. McDonald recruited actor/comedian Paul Reiser, who is also one of his friends, to be his coauthor, an unusual but winning choice. The narrative moves along at a steady rhythm while not getting too bogged down in the details. Having a talented monologist like Reiser help out with an autobiography is something that should happen more often in this genre.
VERDICT An engaging story that readers of music bios will enjoy. McDonald’s musical journey as a backing singer, a side musician, and a front man is fascinating because it is different from that of many other pop/rock stars.
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