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Toto (1977)

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  Summary  

Toto is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1977. The group currently consists of Joseph Williams , David Paich , Steve Porcaro , Steve Lukather , Mike Porcaro , and Simon Phillips . Toto is known for a musical style that combines elements of pop, rock, soul, funk, progressive rock, hard rock, R&B and jazz. They are regularly associated with the soft rock genre.

David Paich and Jeff Porcaro had played together as session musicians on several albums and decided to form a band. David Hungate, Steve Lukather, Steve Porcaro and Bobby Kimball were recruited before their first album release. The band enjoyed great commercial success in the late 1970s and 1980s, beginning with the band's self-titled debut released in 1978. With the release of the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Toto IV , Toto became one of the best-selling music groups of their era. They are best known for the Top 5 hits "Hold the Line," "Rosanna," and "Africa". Although their popularity in the United States diminished in the 1990s and 2000s, they remained popular internationally, playing only a small number of shows in the USA. Several changes to the lineup have been made over the years. In 2008, Lukather announced his departure from the band, and the remaining band members later went their separate ways. In the summer of 2010, Toto reformed and went on a short European tour, with a new lineup, to benefit Mike Porcaro, who had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis .

The band has released a total of 17 albums, and have sold over 35 million albums to date. The group was honored with several Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2009.

  Biography  

 Formation

The members of Toto, who were locals of Hartford, Connecticut, were regulars on albums by Steely Dan, Seals and Crofts, Boz Scaggs, Sonny and Cher, and many others, contributing to many of the most popular records of the 1970s. Keyboardist David Paich, son of musician and sessions player/arranger Marty Paich, rose to fame after having co-written much of Scaggs's Silk Degrees album. Having played on many sessions with drummer Jeff Porcaro , whom he met while attending Grant High School in North Hollywood, California where they formed the band Rural Still Life, the two began to seriously discuss the possibility of forming their own band. They brought in bassist and fellow session vet David Hungate, having played with him on the road with Boz Scaggs. In addition, the duo asked guitarist Steve Lukather (who also played in Scaggs's band as a replacement for Les Dudek) and Jeff Porcaro's brother Steve Porcaro to join the team. Luke and Steve Porcaro were high school classmates, and continued the band Rural Still Life after Paich and Jeff graduated. With the addition of former S.S. Fools singer Bobby Kimball, the group began to work on their first album in 1977 after signing with Columbia Records.

 Band name and debut album (1977–79)
Once the band came together, David Paich began composing what would become the eponymous debut album, Toto. According to popular myth, at the first recording sessions, in order to distinguish their own demo tapes from other bands' in the studio, Jeff Porcaro wrote the word "Toto" on them. In the early 1980s, band members told the press that the band was named after the dog in The Wizard of Oz. One popular rumor is that the name came from Bobby Kimball's "true" last name, Toteaux. This rumor was in fact only a joke popularized by former bassist David Hungate. After the completion of the first album, the band and record were still unnamed. David Hungate, after viewing the name on the demo tapes, explained to the group that the word "Toto" in Latin translated to "all-encompassing." Because the band members played on so many different records and many different musical genres, they adopted the name Toto as their own.

After its release, Toto climbed the charts quickly, earning popularity with the hit single "Hold The Line", as well as the charting "I'll Supply the Love" and "Georgy Porgy." The band garnered international acclaim and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Shortly thereafter, in early 1979, Toto embarked on their first American tour in support of the debut album.
For the tour, Toto brought along two additional musicians, Tom Kelly and Lenny Castro , to increase the depth of the sound, and continued to bring additional touring musicians for all subsequent tours. (See the "Tour Musicians" section below).

 Hydra and Turn Back (1980–81)


At the close of the first tour, the band began work on their next album, entitled Hydra, which was released later that year and featured the single "99", inspired by George Lucas' cult film THX 1138. Nearly 30 years later, Steve Lukather confessed that, despite the song's popularity, he hated "99" and that it's one of his least favorite Toto songs, which is why it was no longer performed live. The band also released four promotional music videos for the album, including the title track. Although the album Hydra failed to achieve the commercial success of Toto's first release, it still went Gold. Following the album's release, the band set out on the "Hydra Tour," which featured both American and international dates. The tour lasted from February until June 1980.

In early 1981, Toto released their third album, Turn Back. The album was a venture into arena rock and featured heavier guitar and fewer keyboards than on the previous two records. Ultimately, Turn Back failed to earn the radio play or critical acclaim of either of the previous two releases and the song "Goodbye Elenore" was the only official single released worldwide. Due to the release's commercial disappointment, the band minimized their promotional touring efforts. Sales of the album stalled at 900,000 copies worldwide and nearly lost Toto their recording contract with Columbia Records.

 Toto IV


1982 marked the beginning of Toto's most successful era. After the disappointing sales of Turn Back, the band was under a great deal of pressure from the record company to produce a new smash record. With Toto IV, the band delivered one of the most commercially successful records of the 80s. The album featured three singles that reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart: "Rosanna," "Africa" and "I Won't Hold You Back." The album also appeared on several worldwide charts, introducing the band to new audiences around the globe. "Africa" topped the charts in February 1983 and was a constant presence on radios around the world, but it was "Rosanna" that earned the band multiple Grammy nominations. Toto IV earned six Grammy Awards, including "Record of the Year" for "Rosanna", "Album of the Year" for Toto IV and "Producer of the Year." The song Rosanna was named after Steve Porcaro's ex-girlfriend, actress Rosanna Arquette, but the song itself was not about her, according to writer David Paich. In the music video for the song, a young Patrick Swayze appears as one of the dancers, while Cynthia Rhodes plays the title character. In addition to "Africa" and "Rosanna," Toto IV continued its successful run with the release of another single, "Make Believe." Toto toured throughout 1982 in support of Toto IV,

 A new lead vocalist – Fergie Frederiksen and Isolation (1982–85)
Subsequent to the Toto IV release, bassist David Hungate left the band. Hungate, who had relocated to Nashville in 1982 to pursue a session/production career, felt that the fame surrounding Toto IV would prevent him from spending time with his family. Mike Porcaro replaced him on bass and appeared in all the music videos for Toto IV. Lead singer Bobby Kimball was fired in 1984 when personal problems plagued his relationship with the band. At one point, Richard Page of the band Mr. Mister was offered the lead singer spot, but turned it down to continue with his band. Fergie Frederiksen was brought in as the new vocalist and the band recorded Isolation, released in November 1984. Although Bobby Kimball sang some portion of the record before leaving, the extent of his participation is unknown. He is given credit as a background vocalist. David Paich says he performed a third of the record, while Steve Lukather says it was only three or four songs. Kimball claims it was most of the album. While Isolation did not achieve the acclaim or sales of Toto IV, it did achieve Gold status, largely on the strength of the single "Stranger in Town." The "Isolation" tour began in February 1985 and concluded three months later.

 Fahrenheit and The Seventh One with Joseph Williams (1985–88)

At the close of the Isolation tour in 1985, Fergie Frederiksen was let go. Lukather claimed that the band was not meshing well with Fergie because he had a difficult time recording with them in the studio. The band had an audition for a new lead singer and Joseph Williams, son of famous film composer John Williams and 1950's singer/actress Barbara Ruick, was chosen to take over lead vocals in early 1986.

With Joseph Williams now onboard officially, Toto wrote and recorded Fahrenheit, released in October 1986. While Williams is credited as lead vocalist, Frederiksen had begun recording a few tracks and is featured as a background vocalist on the track "Could This Be Love."

Fahrenheit brought the band back from the heavier sound of Isolation to their pop/rock roots. "I'll Be Over You" and "Without Your Love," which were both sung by Lukather, were the two hit singles, both of which are ballads. The band recruited several guest musicians for the album. They recorded an instrumental piece entitled "Don't Stop Me Now" with legendary jazz great Miles Davis. In addition, a then-unknown Paula Abdul appeared as a dancer in their "Till the End" music video. Michael McDonald provided backup vocals on the song "I'll Be Over You", while Eagles founder and songwriting giant Don Henley appeared on the Steve Porcaro penned track "Lea".

Despite all its accolades, however, the album was not received well compared to previous releases and failed to immediately set fire to any of the charts. After its release, the band embarked on another world tour. Upon its conclusion in 1987, Steve Porcaro left the band to pursue a career in film and television scoring. The Fahrenheit album eventually went Gold on October 3, 1994. Steve Porcaro was never replaced and Toto decided to continue with only five members. Although Steve Porcaro occasionally assisted the band on synthesizers for their subsequent studio albums , David Paich handled most of the live keyboard work post 1988.

In 1988 Toto released their next album The Seventh One, featuring Jon Anderson of Yes on backup vocals on the single "Stop Loving You". The album's other single, "Pamela", also became very popular and would be the band's last to hit the US Top 40. The Seventh One became the band's most successful release since Toto IV and, according to David Paich, the record was supposed to be their comeback record, but personnel changes at the record company resulted in the album's promotion and advertising money being pulled. The band toured from February through July 1988.

 Past To Present and Jean-Michel Byron (1988–90)

Although "The Seventh One Tour" was very successful, after it was finished the band decided to replace lead singer Joseph Williams. During the European leg of the tour, Joseph had lost his voice before many of the performances because of a combination of the flu, excessive partying and drug use, prompting Toto to decide that a change needed to be made. Originally, the band wanted to reunite with original vocalist Bobby Kimball to record new songs for a greatest hits record, but the record company instead insisted they hire South African singer Jean-Michel Byron. Before Byron was brought in, the band recorded "Goin Home." This song was later featured on the Toto XX album as an 'unreleased song.' When Byron was brought in, he and Toto recorded four new songs which were included on their greatest hits album Past to Present 1977-1990, released in 1990. Toto then embarked upon the "Planet Earth" tour that lasted from September until December 1990.

Shortly into this tour, it became clear that Byron's decidedly non-rock image and bizarre on-stage antics would not mesh with Toto's vision for their live shows, and he was subsequently fired. Because many of the fans were so outraged at Byron's stage persona, most of his performances were removed from the subsequent live video release, "Toto Live," and Byron was listed only as a "background singer" in the album credits. All of the live performances of the new songs from Past to Present were removed from the recorded set list and the only songs on which Byron appears are "Rosanna" and "Hold The Line" and a few wide shots. The rest of the tracks were sung by Steve Lukather and David Paich.

 Death of Jeff Porcaro (1991–92)
Once again without a lead vocalist, guitarist Steve Lukather stepped up to the microphone and became the new front man. Toto played at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1991 and the band recorded Kingdom of Desire, which was released on Columbia Records in most parts of the world and on Clive Davis' label Relativity Records in the United States.

Jeff Porcaro died in an accident on August 5, 1992, at the age of 38. According to the LA Times Report, The Los Angeles County Coroner's office lists the cause of death to be a heart attack from the hardening of the arteries caused by cocaine use, not from an allergic reaction to the pesticides as presumed (and stated by in the band's official history) immediately after his death. Facing the prospect of a tour without Jeff, Toto almost broke up. However, Jeff Porcaro's family insisted the band continue. Englishman Simon Phillips was the only drummer ever contacted to replace Jeff Porcaro since the band knew that Porcaro liked Phillips and because Lukather worked with Simon on a previous tour with Santana and Jeff Beck in Japan in 1986.

Phillips joined the band and they went on the tour, which they dedicated to Jeff's memory. In 1993 they released a live album called Absolutely Live. From 1991 on, Steve Lukather would handle a majority of the vocals (until Bobby Kimball's return in 1998), but some older songs originally sung by Kimball, Fergie Frederiksen, and Joseph Williams were put in the set list and sung by new backup singers Fred White , Jackie McGee (who'd joined for the 1990 tour and was replaced by Donna McDaniel in 1992) and Jenny Douglas-McRae (who'd also come aboard in 1990.) John sang "Stop Loving You" and Bobby's part on "Rosanna," Donna sang "Home Of The Brave" and "Angel Don't Cry", and Jenny sang "Hold The Line."

On December 14, 1992, the Tribute to Jeff Porcaro Concert was held at Universal City's Universal Amphitheatre. Performers, including Don Henley, Eddie Van Halen, Donald Fagen, Walter Becker, Boz Scaggs, James Newton Howard, Michael McDonald, Richard Marx and special guest George Harrison, performed various Toto songs along with the four remaining Toto members. At the close of the tour, the band then took a break to pursue individual projects as well as to keep up their session schedules.

 Simon Phillips and Tambu (1995–97)
In 1995 Toto recorded Tambu, their first album with Simon Phillips, which saw the band back with CBS . A departure from Toto's sound of the late 1970s and 1980s, Tambu was a very organic release and featured the single "I Will Remember," which received moderate radio play. Other singles released were "Drag Him To The Roof" and "The Turning Point." Tambu also featured John James and Jenny Douglas-McRae as backup singers on some of the tracks. Jenny even sang lead on the album's bonus track, "Blackeye," and also in a duet with Steve Lukather on "Baby He's Your Man." The album did not sell well in the United States and the planned second single, "Baby He's Your Man," ended up being cancelled. Unlike the domestic disappointment, however, Tambu sold 600,000 copies worldwide.

The "Tambu Tour" proved to be another success, although there were no North American dates. Simon Phillips suffered from a back problem, so Gregg Bissonette had to fill in for him during the first leg of the tour in late 1995. The tour concluded in 1996. The rest of the tour personnel remained the same, with the exception of Donna McDaniel who'd left in 1994 shortly after the "Night of the Proms" performances . The song "Hold The Line" was now sung as a duet between Jenny and John.
Both Jenny and John were dropped from the band at the conclusion of the 1997 tour.

 Bobby Kimball's return (1997–2001)
1997 marked the band's 20th anniversary, and in order to commemorate it, David Paich and Steve Lukather started to go through several old tapes and demos for a special record of unreleased songs. In 1998 they released Toto XX with the single "Goin Home". Toto went on a small promotional tour with former members Bobby Kimball, Steve Porcaro and Joseph Williams.

After the "Toto XX" tour, Bobby Kimball rejoined the band as lead singer after 14 years. The band released Mindfields in early 1999 and embarked on the "Reunion" tour, touring worldwide and returning to the United States for the first time in six years. The new album featured three singles, "Melanie," "Cruel" and "Mad About You," a song co-written by David Paich and former Toto vocalist Joseph Williams. Later that year, a live album titled Livefields was released. The tour officially concluded in 2000, but the band played a few shows throughout 2001. David Paich briefly took a break from touring in 2000, so Jeff Babko filled in on keyboards. Paich then resumed touring with Toto in 2001.

 Toto's 25th anniversary (2002–03)
In 2002, in celebration of Toto's 25th anniversary, the band released Through the Looking Glass, a covers album that paid tribute to the band's musical influences, such as Bob Marley, Steely Dan, George Harrison and Elton John. Two singles were released, Could You Be Loved, a Bob Marley cover, and While My Guitar Gently Weeps, a Beatles cover. The album was not a commercial success and many fans were upset about the release, thinking that the band should have written new material instead. However, the record gave the band material to promote their "25th Anniversary Tour," which started in 2002 and concluded in 2003. After the tour, Toto released a live album and DVD of the show titled Live in Amsterdam. Both the live album and the DVD were released in late 2003. Steve Lukather himself was critical of his performance at this concert.

 Greg Phillinganes and David Paich's semi-retirement (2003–05)

Beginning in June 2003, near the end of their "25th Anniversary Tour," keyboardist David Paich took a leave of absence from touring to spend time with a sick family member. Steve Lukather, known for his sense of humor, released a fake story that Paich was actually undertaking a sex change operation and would become "Davida." The story was posted on the band's website and was picked up by media all over the world. Although the fans thought it was funny, many people were offended and Lukather apologized for his post and all references to the joke were removed from the website. Veteran keyboardist Greg Phillinganes filled in for Paich for the rest of the tour.

In late 2003, Toto headlined Night of the Proms for two months straight. Paich returned but was only able to play for a few weeks before he had to leave again, so Phillinganes once again filled in for the remainder of the shows. In early 2004, the band embarked on a small world tour that went throughout all of 2004 as well as 2005. David Paich only occasionally appeared, with Phillinganes playing at a majority of the shows. In 2005, he was asked to permanently join the band and David Paich then retired from touring altogether. Paich was still a member of Toto, however, as he continued to record and produce on all of Toto's releases.

 Falling In Between and Falling In Between Live (2006–2007)

In early 2006, Toto released Falling in Between on the Italian label Frontiers, their first album of new material since 1999. The release featured extensive keyboard work from Steve Porcaro and a duet with Joseph Williams on the first single, "Bottom of Your Soul." The album received very positive reviews from both critics and fans, some reviews even saying that it was the best Toto album since Toto IV. Following the record's release, Toto embarked on an extensive worldwide tour in 2006, which continued into 2007 for a second leg. The 2007 leg featured Leland Sklar filling in on bass for Mike Porcaro due to an undisclosed illness. 2007 featured extensive dates in both Europe and the United States, including an appearance at Moondance Jam in Walker, Minnesota. Former lead singer Fergie Frederiksen made a guest appearance at the Minneapolis date on May 5, 2007 and Joseph Williams also made a few guest appearances with the band in June 2007.

Toto released a two-CD set Falling In Between Live on Eagle Records to commemorate the tour. This live set marks the fourth for the band, following 1993's "Absolutely Live," 1999's "Livefields" and 2003's "Live In Amsterdam."

In 2008, a companion DVD of the show which was recorded in Paris in March 2007 was released.

 Breakup
After a period of rumors and some allusions, on June 5, 2008, Lukather posted a message on his official website, stating:
The fact is yes I have left Toto. There is no more Toto. I just can't do it anymore and at 50 years old I wanted to start over and give it one last try on my own.

Lukather further stated that after 31 years of recording, producing and playing with Toto without even missing one single gig, he could not do it anymore. With Lukather being the only original member left in the band (Bobby Kimball was also an original member, but was out of the band from 1984–1998 and with David Paich retiring from touring back in 2005), there was no other option than to call it quits. As the main motivation for his decision, Lukather said:

When Dave retired that was REAL hard for me 'cause we started the band together. Hell, it's 35 years if you count High School where the core all met. When Mike fell ill and had to leave that was it for me. If there isn't Paich or at least one Porcaro how can we even call it Toto? ... Honestly, I have just had enough. This is NOT a break. It is over. I really can't go out and play Hold The Line with a straight face anymore.

Toto sold over 30 million records, scored a worldwide number one hit with the song "Africa" and other hits that topped various charts. The band and its individual members worked with and wrote for artists such as Michael Jackson, Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan, Santana, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Larry Carlton, Chicago, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Quincy Jones, Paul McCartney, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Lionel Richie, Olivia Newton-John and hundreds more.

 Induction into the Musicians Hall of Fame
In October 2009, the individual founding musicians of Toto were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame. Steve Lukather, David Paich, Steve Porcaro and David Hungate were present, with Mike Porcaro's and Jeff Porcaro's family members accepting their awards in absentia.

 Reformation (2010–present)
On February 26, 2010, the band reformed and reunited for a brief tour of Europe in the summer to benefit Mike Porcaro, who has ALS. The lineup featured David Paich, Steve Lukather, Steve Porcaro, Simon Phillips, Joseph Williams and special guest Nathan East.

Steve Lukather stated that the band still exists:

Edit to 2010.. well with Mike not being well and some of us missing each other the REAL high school friends ( yes that includes Joe!!) got back together for the RIGHT reason.
People want to hear the hits played the way they were recorded, Joe has his voice back 100% and I loved having that power in front again and all REAL, BG vocals again strong and seeing Paich AND Steve Porcaro with THOSE real keyboard sounds, Simon back and as Lee was busy having old pal Nate East step in.. it was so much fun and so successful we thought " Hmm, maybe a few gigs once in awhile would be fun" and we can make some money etc.. please some of the hard core fans. We ALL have outside careers that keep us all busy, not to mention families etc.. no one really wants to make new music, not a full record anyway. MAYBE a track someday but not in the near future. I am on tour for a year anyway and enjoying a very successful sold out solo tour and my record sales are better than they have ever been so I dont wanna mess THAT up and everyone has their own very busy successful lives and once in awhile.. why not right? There is no covert BS goin on here.

Lukather also said that they went on with Joseph Williams because they wanted to try something different and that he did not have any bad feelings towards Bobby Kimball. The band will continue with the current line up.

Another summer tour is underway from June 2011 onwards. Jenny Douglas will once again join the band as background vocalist. The band recorded their show on July 17, 2011 in Verona for a Spring 2012 release.

In 2012 Toto will once again tour the world with the current line up.
Toto is celebrating 35 years of music and friendship in 2012.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Toto (groupe)", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.