In 1976, Jeff Porcaro (b. April 1, 1954, Hartford, CT; d. August 5, 1992, Hidden Hills, CA; drums), and David Paich (b. June 21, 1954, Los Angeles; keyboards, vocals), who played together in high school bands and are already acclaimed studio musicians, among the busiest in the business, decide to form a new band. Joining them are Steve Lukather (b. October 21, 1957, Los Angeles; guitar, vocals), and Jeff's younger brother Steve Porcaro (b. September 2, 1957, Connecticut; keyboards, who have been playing together in a band called Still Life), singer Bobby Kimball (b. Robert Toteaux, March 29, 1947, Vinton, LA; vocals, from the L.A. band SS Fools) and bassist David Hungate (b. Texas; bass). Jeff suggests the name "TOTO" after having watched The Wizard Of Oz on TV, not to name the band after the dog, but as a name that's easy to pronounce and remember. Coincidentally, "toto" in Latin means "all encompassing", so it is an accurate name for a band who wants to do all kinds of musical styles. Paich was the son of arranger Marty Paich; the Porcaros were the sons of percussionist Joe Porcaro. Paich, Hungate, and Jeff Porcaro wrote songs for and performed on Silk Degrees, the multi-million-selling 1976 album by Boz Scaggs, which combined pop, rock, and disco elements into a slick combination which heavily influenced mainstream pop music.
Toto released its self-titled debut album, Toto, in October 1978, and it hit the Top Ten, sold two-million copies, and spawned the gold Top Ten single "Hold the Line." With two more hit singles, "I'll Supply The Love" and "Georgy Porgy", TOTO's debut album sets new standards in pop and rock music, at that time, and earns them a Grammy nomination in 1978 as "Best New Artist". In 1979, TOTO releases their second album Hydra. It features one of their biggest hits, "99", a song inspired by the George Lucas movie THX-1138 about a society where people had numbers instead of names.
Toto IV (April 1982) was their most successful album, a multi-platinum Top Ten hit, featuring the number-one hit "
In 1984, a third Porcaro brother, Mike (b. May 29, 1955), joined the group on bass, replacing Hungate. After TOTO's big world tour, during pre-production of the 5th album, lead singer Bobby Kimball leaves and is replaced by Dennis "Fergie" Frederiksen (b. May 15, 1951, Wyoming, MI) from the band Le Roux. Isolation is released in early 1984 and features two hit singles, "Stranger In Town" and "Holyanna". This album becomes a favorite among the fans. In summer of 1984, TOTO records an instrumental for the Olympic Games, the boxing theme called "Moodido". TOTO also writes their first, and to this date only, movie score for David Lynch's Dune [Soundtrack], a monumental sci-fi movie.
After another change of lead singer (Dennis "Fergie" Frederiksen), TOTO releases their 6th album Fahrenheit, in 1986, with the voice of Joseph Williams (b.
In 1987, Steve Porcaro officially leaves the band to pursue other projects but continues working with TOTO on their next album, appropriately titled Seventh One. Returning to the sounds of the TOTO IV era, this albums scores two hit singles in Europe, "Pamela" and "Stop Loving You" (the latter not being released in the
TOTO gets together again in 1990 for a greatest hits compilation called Past to Present 1977-1990. Their plan is to have Bobby Kimball come back and they actually record some songs for that album with him, but the record company forces them to use Jean-Michel Byron as new lead singer. Four new songs featuring Byron are included on the album, but he lasts only for this one album and the following tour when it becomes clear to band and fans that he isn't the right person to front TOTO. Despite all these problems, the first single "Out Of Love" becomes a small hit in
On 5 August 1992, only a short time before the release of the new
After returning from the KOD world tour, TOTO starts working on their first live album, which is released in 1993. Titled Absolutely Live, it features some of the highlights from their last tour. Steve Lukather spends the year recording his second solo album Candyman, which is actually a group effort from his other band Los Lobotomys, but released as a solo album in Europe and
In 1995, TOTO writes and records their first album with Simon Phillips on drums. They play some of the summer festivals in
In the fall of 1996, Simon Phillips releases the solo album Symbiosis which is supported by a European tour in January and February of 1997. Right after that, he starts working on his next solo album and returns to
In 1998, Toto asks former lead vocalists, Joseph Williams and Bobby Kimball to join them in some promotional outings for the upcoming "Toto XX: 1977-1997 [Sony Legacy]" release. For 1999's Mindfields, Bobby Kimball returned to the lineup after a 15-year absence. It is a return to the "classic Toto sound" from their first four albums when Bobby was with them. The group members continued to do session work during the band's tenure, contributing significantly to the sound of mainstream pop/rock in the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. They embark on a world "Reunion/Mindfields" tour which would last into 2000. They quickly followed Mindfields up with a live album from the tour in 2000, entitled, "Livefields". They continue their touring through-out 2000 and into 2001. In October, 2001, they open for Eric Clapton in
Turn Back (1981)
Toto IV (1982)
Dune [Soundtrack] (1984)
Seventh One (1988)
Past to Present 1977-1990 (1990)
Absolutely Live (1993)
Greatest Hits (1996)
Dune [Score] (1997)
Toto/Hydra/Toto IV (1997)
Mindfields [Japan] (1999)
Greatest Hits...And More (2002)
Through the Looking Glass (2002)
Circa 1980's (2003)
Love Songs (2003)
The Essential Toto (2003)
Greatest Hits: Unplugged (2004)
Original Hits (2004)
Hold the Line (2005)
Rock Breakout Years: 1982 (2005)
Bottom of Your Soul (2006)
Falling in Between (2006)
My favorite Toto songs are
Thanks, Toto, for some terrific music…