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Toto (band). (2009, January 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:18, January 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Toto_(band)&oldid=264951241

Toto was a Grammy Award winning American rock band founded in 1977[1] by some of the most popular and experienced session musicians of the era. The band enjoyed great commercial success in the 1980s, beginning with the band's self-titled debut, released in 1978, which immediately brought the band into the mainstream rock spectrum of the time. Continuing with 1982's critically acclaimed and commercially successful Toto IV, Toto became one of the biggest selling music groups of their era. They also composed the theme music for the film Dune. Although their popularity in the United States diminished in the 1990s and 2000s, they continued to tour and sold out arenas, clubs, and theaters internationally. Toto was known for their technical prowess in the studio, as well as a musical style that combines elements of pop, rock, soul, funk, progressive rock, hard rock, R&B, and jazz, and although they were regularly associated with the soft rock genre, and particularly the neo-progressive rock genre, this broad array of musical styles helped them appeal to a variety of musicians and non-musician listeners. The band released 17 albums and have sold over 30 million records to date.[1] Their 18th release Falling In Between Live, was released in August 2007. It had been recorded in March 2007 in Paris. As a result of guitarist Steve Lukather's departure from the band, Toto broke up after the last leg of their 2008 tour.

Toto formed as a group of six studio musicians in 1977. Prior to the band's formation, the members of Toto were regulars on albums by Steely Dan,[2] Seals and Crofts,[3] Boz Scaggs,[4] Sonny and Cher,[5] and many others, contributing to many of the most popular records of the 1970s. Keyboardist David Paich, son of famed musician and sessions player/arranger Marty Paich, rose to fame after having co-written Boz Scaggs' Silk Degrees album. Having played on many sessions with drummer Jeff Porcaro (the son of noted session percussionist Joe Porcaro whom he'd met while attending Grant High School in Van Nuys, California where they'd 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 and Jeff Porcaro's brother Steve Porcaro (keyboards) to join the team. Luke and Steve Porcaro had also attended Grant High and had in fact continued the band Rural Still Life (the name shortened to Still Life) after Paich & Jeff had 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.

Once all of the songs were written, the band came together in the studio to record the album. According to popular myth, in order to distinguish their own demo tapes from other bands' in the studio, Jeff Porcaro wrote the word "Toto" on them. Although 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.[6] After the completion of the first album, the band and record were still un-named. 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 had played on so many different records and many different musical genres, they adopted the name Toto as their own. The band's name may have elicited a few laughs when they first toured Japan. TOTO is the name of Japan's largest toilet manufacturer.[7] Also, despite their popularity in Africa (largely due to their song of the same name), in Nigeria and Sierra Leone, the band's name in many languages is the same as a slang term for the vagina.[8] The name "Toto" is also well-known as the name of Dorothy's dog in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz books and the famous 1939 film.

After its release, Toto hit 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.[9] For the tour Toto brought along two additional musicians, Tom Kelly (guitar, backup vocals) and Lenny Castro (percussion), for a fuller sound. In fact, from the very first tour on, Toto would always carry additional players (See Tour Musicians below).

At the close of the tour, the band began work on their next album, entitled Hydra, which was released later that year. The album featured the single "99", inspired by George Lucas' cult film THX 1138,[10] which became one of the band's most popular songs. Despite its popularity, however, in 2007, Steve Lukather admitted that he hates "99" and that it's his least favorite Toto song, which is why it was no longer performed live.[11] Other songs from Hydra include "St George and the Dragon" and "All Us Boys". The band also released four promotional music videos for the album, including the title track, though the song was never released as a single. Although Hydra failed to achieve the commercial success of Toto's first release, it still went Gold. Following the album's release, the band began the "Hydra Tour" which featured both American and International dates. The tour lasted from February until June 1980.[9]

In early 1981, Toto released their third album Turn Back. The album was experimental[12] and featured a lot more guitar and less keyboards than their previous two records. Ultimately, Turn Back failed to earn the radio play or critical acclaim of either of the previous two records. The song "Goodbye Elenore" was the only official single released worldwide.[13] Because the release was a commercial disappointment, the band did very little touring to promote the record.

1982 marked the beginning of Toto's most successful era. After the poor sales of Turn Back, the band were under a lot of pressure from their 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 made several worldwide charts, bringing the band to new audiences. "Africa" topped the charts in February of 1983 and was a constant presence on radios across the globe, but it was "Rosanna" that earned the band multiple Grammy nominations. Toto IV was awarded 6 Grammy Awards, including "Record of the Year" for "Rosanna", "Album of the Year" for Toto IV, and "Producer of the Year". In the video for "Rosanna", a young Patrick Swayze can be seen as one of the dancers, and a young Cynthia Rhodes can be seen as the lead dancer. The song was named after Steve Porcaro's ex-girlfriend, actress Rosanna Arquette, but the song itself was not about her, according to writer David Paich.[14] In addition to "Africa" and "Rosanna", Toto IV gained even more success with the release of another single, "Make Believe". Toto toured throughout 1982 in support of Toto IV,[9] but near the end of the tour, Bobby Kimball broke his leg and was forced to perform seated behind a piano for the remaining shows.

Subsequent to the Toto IV release, bassist David Hungate left the band to spend more time with his family, having already relocated to Nashville by 1980 to pursue a sessions/production career there. Mike Porcaro replaced him on bass and appeared in all the music videos for Toto IV. Lead singer Bobby Kimball was fired in 1984 due to personal problems between him and the band.[15] 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 (formerly of Trillion and Louisiana's LeRoux) was brought in as the new lead singer after he was introduced to Jeff Porcaro, and the band recorded Isolation, released in November 1984. Although Bobby Kimball sang some portion of the record before leaving, the exact amount is unknown. David Paich says it was a third of the record,[16] Steve Lukather also says it was only 3 or 4 songs,[17] but Kimball says it was most of the album.[18] The truth is unknown. However, some of Bobby Kimball's background vocals were left on the record. Although still a commercial success, Isolation did not achieve the acclaim of Toto IV and only went Gold. The "Isolation Tour" started in February of 1985 and concluded three months later.[9]

At the close of the Isolation tour, 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.[19] The band had an audition for a new lead singer and Joseph Williams, son of famous film composer John Williams, was chosen in early 1986 from the individuals that auditioned.[20]

With Joseph Williams now on board officially, Toto wrote and recorded Fahrenheit, released in October 1986, which had already been started with Frederiksen handling lead vocals. The track "Could This Be Love" features Fergie on background vocals.

Fahrenheit showed the band moving back in a more pop direction and featured the hits "I'll Be Over You" and "Without Your Love", which were both sung by Lukather (since the first album, Paich, Lukather, and sometimes even Steve Porcaro, would sing lead vocals on some songs in addition to whoever their front man was). There was also an instrumental piece, "Don't Stop Me Now", performed with jazz great Miles Davis. Furthermore, a then-unknown Paula Abdul appeared as a dancer in their "Till the End" music video. In addition, one of the studio-singers heard on the song "I'll Be Over You" is Michael McDonald. Despite its accolades however, the album was not received well compared to previous releases and failed to go Gold initially.[21] 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 3rd, 1994. [22]

Steve Porcaro was never replaced, and Toto decided to continue with only five members. Although Porcaro occasionally assisted the band on synthesizers for their subsequent studio albums(and appeared on their 1988 tour), David Paich handled most of the live keyboard work (with keyboard tech John Jessel assisting on certain dates) 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 record's other single, "Pamela" also became very popular and would be the band's last to hit the U.S. 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 saw the album's promotion and advertising money pulled.[23] The band toured from February until July of 1988.[9]

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 due to a combination of the flu, excessive partying and drug-use, prompting Toto to decide that a change needed to be made.[15] 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. Byron and Toto recorded 4 new songs which were included on their greatest hits album, Past to Present 1977-1990, released in 1990. Toto then embarked upon on the "Planet Earth Tour" that lasted from September until December of 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.[24] Because many of the fans were so outraged at Byron's stage persona, most of his performance was 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 setlist, and the only songs on which Byron appears are "Rosanna" and "Hold The Line" and a few wide shots.[25] The rest of the tracks were sung by Steve Lukather and David Paich.

Once again without a lead vocalist, guitarist Steve Lukather stepped up to the microphone and became the new front man, and the band recorded Kingdom of Desire which was released on Columbia Records in most parts of the world and Clive Davis' label Relativity Records in the United States. Tragedy then struck, however, just prior to the record's release when drummer Jeff Porcaro died. On August 5, 1992, Jeff suffered an allergic reaction due to a pesticide he was using in his garden. Facing the prospect of a tour without Jeff, Toto almost broke up. However, Jeff Porcaro's family insisted the band continue on. Englishman Simon Phillips was the only drummer ever contacted to replace Jeff Porcaro, since the band knew that Porcaro liked Phillips, and because Lukather had 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 setlist and sung by the new backup singers: Fred White (who was replaced by John James in 1992), 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".

At the close of the tour, the band performed the Tribute to Jeff Porcaro Concert in Los Angeles on December 14th, 1992. It featured Toto as well as Don Henley, Eddie Van Halen, Donald Fagen, Walter Becker, Boz Scaggs, James Newton Howard, Michael McDonald, Richard Marx, and many more, and a special appearance by George Harrison. At the close of the tour, the band took a break to pursue individual projects as well as to keep up their session schedules.

In 1995, Toto recorded Tambu, their first album with Simon Phillips, which saw the band back with CBS, which was now Sony. A departure from Toto's polished, almost over-produced 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 session singers on some of the tracks. Jenny also 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 in fact was not even released there until almost a year after it came out overseas) and the planned second single "Baby He's Your Man" ended up being cancelled.[26] 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 left in 1994 shortly after the "Night of the Proms" performances (which Jenny had missed since she was out touring with Joe Cocker). The song "Hold The Line" was now sung as a duet between Jenny and John.[27] Both Jenny and John were dropped from the band at the conclusion of the 1997 tour.

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 6 years. The new album featured 3 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.[28] Paich then resumed touring with Toto in 2001.

In 2002, in celebration of Toto's 25th Anniversary, the band(now on CMC International) 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.[29] 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.[29]

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 also 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.[30] Veteran keyboardist Greg Phillinganes filled in for Paich for the rest of the tour.

In late 2003, Toto headlined Night of the Proms for 2 months straight. David returned but was only able to play for a few weeks before he had to leave again, so Greg 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 Greg playing at a majority of the shows. In 2005, Greg 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.[31]

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.[32] 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, who was recovering from a serious hand injury. 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, USA date on May 5, 2007[33] and Joseph Williams also made a few guest appearances with the band in June 2007.[34]

Toto has recently released a 2-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".

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

After a period of rumours and some allusions, on June 5th, 2008, Steve Lukather made an official announcement on his website stevelukather.net, stating: "The fact is yes I have left Toto. There is no more Toto." Lukather further stated that after 31 years of recording, producing and playing with Toto without even missing one single gig, he couldn't do it anymore: "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." 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) 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?" Lukather also stated: "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." The break-up of Toto after 31 years received mixed reactions from the fans, but in general the decision was understood and many agreed with Lukather's reasons to quit the band.

On April 5th, 2008, Toto played what would be their last show ever, in Seoul, Korea, as a part of their Falling In Between Live tour. This left lots of fans without a real farewell tour, which was something that the band said they would do.

In their 31 years of existence, Toto sold over 30 million records, had numerous hits and scored a worldwide number 1 hit with the song "Africa". Toto did over 10 world tours which consistently sold out everywhere but in the US. 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, and hundreds more. Those accomplishments would state Toto as a huge influence in the music scene, especially in the eighties, and have left their mark in the history of contemporary music in general.

Toto (band). (2009, January 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:18, January 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Toto_(band)&oldid=264951241

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