Toto
1976 † June 05, 2008
United States
Music group
In 1976, Jeff Porcaro and David Paich, who played together in high school bands and are already acclaimed studio musicians and currently working with Boz Scaggs, decide to form a new band. Joining them are Steve Lukather and Jeff's younger brother Steve Porcaro (who have been playing together in a band called Still Life), singer Bobby Kimball (from the L.A. band SS Fools) and bassist David Hungate. 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.

In September 1977, their first self-titled album is released and the debut single "Hold The Line" rapidly climbs the charts. With two more hit singles, "I'll Supply The Love" and "Georgy Porgy", Toto's debut album sets new standards in pop/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. The video for "99" looks exactly like a scene from the movie, an all white room with the band members all dressed in white.

The 1981 album, Turn Back, produces no hit singles, but 1982 marks the biggest year in Toto's career. The album Toto IV goes platinum and the hit singles from this album, especially "Africa" and "Rosanna", become classics and make Toto a household name around the world. Before the Toto IV tours begin, David Hungate leaves the band and is replaced by the third Porcaro brother, Mike.

In 1983, while their 4th album is still selling millions all over the world, Toto is the big winner at the Grammy Awards. They receive 6 golden gramophones for Album Of The Year - Toto IV, Record Of The Year - Rosanna, Producer Of The Year - Toto, Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals - Rosanna, Best Vocal Arrangement - Rosanna and Best Engineered Recording - Toto IV. Steve Lukather also wins a Grammy for Best Rhythm & Blues Song - Turn Your Love Around which he co-wrote with Jay Graydon and Bill Champlin.

After Toto's big world tour, during pre-production of the 5th album, Bobby Kimball leaves and is replaced by Fergie Frederiksen 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, a monumental sci-fi movie.

In 1985 Toto participates on the charity album USA For Africa. After yet another change of lead singer, Toto releases their 6th album Fahrenheit in 1986, with the voice of Joseph Williams, son of famous film composer John Williams. The big hit single from that album, "I'll Be Over You", is sung by Steve Lukather however. Steve Lukather does some shows in Japan with Jeff Beck and Santana, where he meets Simon Phillips for the first time. In support of the Fahrenheit album, Toto goes on a big world tour that is continued in the spring of 1987.

In 1987, Steve Porcaro officially leaves the band to pursue other projects but continues working with Toto on their next album, appropriately titled The 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 U.S.). With the release of the album in 1988, Toto embarks on another world tour. After the tour, Joseph Williams leaves the band.

Steve Lukather releases his first solo album simply called Lukather in 1989, showing his fondness for harder edged sounds. In support of the album, he tours Japan with Jeff Beck. Also this year, Los Lobotomys, a band consisting of some of the finest L.A. musicians, releases a live album which features Luke and Jeff.

Toto gets together again in 1990 for a greatest hits compilation called Past to Present. 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 Europe while the album goes platinum in most countries.

After the departure of Byron in 1991, Steve Lukather takes over the role of lead singer. Toto starts writing songs for their next studio album and performs some of them at various summer festivals in Europe, including the Montreux Jazz Festival.

On 5 August 1992, only a short time before the release of the new album Kingdom of Desire, Jeff Porcaro dies of a heart attack after an allergic reaction to a pesticide he was spraying in his garden. Family, band, friends, fans and the whole music world mourns the death of a man who was praised not only as the best drummer around but also a wonderful human being.

With the release of the new album and an already booked world tour just a few weeks away, Toto makes the hard decision to go ahead with the tour because they feel Jeff would want them to. Simon Phillips bravely takes on the burden of sitting in on drums. The KOD tour becomes a very special tour for band and fans since nobody knows at this point if it will be their last tour. Toto performs for more than three hours each night, playing songs from every album. Simon Phillips is well integrated into the band and is eventually asked by Toto to join them permanently.

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 Japan in 1994. With Simon Phillips, David Garfield and John Peña at his side, Luke goes on an extensive and successful club tour through Europe and Japan in the summer and fall of 1994.

In 1995, Toto writes and records their first album with Simon Phillips on drums. They play some of the summer festivals in Europe where they present three of their new songs which are very much acclaimed by the fans. Tambu is released in the fall and the first single "I Will Remember" goes gold in several European countries and Japan. Unfortunately, Simon is not able to make it to the first leg of Toto's world tour due to severe back problems. He is temporarily replaced by Gregg Bissonette, but returns in early 1996 for the second leg. Toto spends the whole spring and summer of that year touring around the world, from Europe to Japan, South America and back to Europe, where they open for Tina Turner in England in addition to doing their own shows. After returning home, Toto takes a break which the individual members use for pursuing solo projects.

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 Europe in the summer for some festival appearances. Mike Porcaro teams up with brother Steve to work on a Porcaro Brothers project which generates the single "Young At Heart" with Joseph Williams on vocals, the official song for the European Football Champions League final at which they also perform this song.

Steve Lukather finishes up his third solo album, appropriately titled LUKE, in the spring and takes it on the road throughout the summer, playing ten weeks in Europe followed by another two weeks in Japan. In August David Garfield releases the long-awaited Tribute to Jeff album, featuring nearly 80 musicians, including all of Jeff's Toto bandmates as well as his family and friends. In late 1997, Steve Lukather and David Paich start searching through old tapes for material for the upcoming 20 year celebration album Toto XX. Simon Phillips releases Another Lifetime in September and embarks on a short tour of Japan in October before rejoining Toto for their first ever tour of South Africa in November. Toto plays big stadiums and is joined by a South African choir and South African drummers to perform "Africa" in Johannesburg.

In January and February of 1998, Simon Phillips tours Europe while the rest of the band puts the finishing touches to Toto XX. In late February, Steve Lukather comes to Europe to perform at the Jimi Hendrix Tribute Festivals. In May, Toto XX is finally released. It rapidly climbs the European and Japanese charts. To celebrate the release of this album, Toto teams up with their ex-members Bobby Kimball, Joseph Williams and Steve Porcaro for some special press parties in Europe, performing all of their old hits with their original singers and also some songs they haven't played in ages. Right after their return home, they start working collectively on their upcoming new studio album. Since they had so much fun with the ex members in Europe, Toto decides to continue working with them on the new album and even to take Bobby Kimball on the road with them for their next world tour. In November, taking a short break from recording the new Toto album Mindfields, Steve Lukather tours Japan with guitar legend Larry Carlton, while Simon Phillips works on an upcoming live album compiled from his recent solo tours.

To coincide with the release of the new album Mindfields in March of 1999, Toto embarks on a big world tour in late February. After more than two highly successful months in Europe they go on a completely sold out Japanese tour in April. In May, Toto starts their first U.S. tour in six years which is continued throughout the summer.

In July, Simon Phillips releases a live album called Out Of The Blue, recorded during his 1998 European tour. Toto starts mixing their new live album, appropriately titled LIVEFIELDS, in August. In September, Steve Lukather takes part in the Linzer Klangwolke, a big open air event in Austria. Right in time for the start of the second European leg of the big world tour, the long-awaited live album LIVEFIELDS is released in Europe in early October. After some more U.S. dates in December Toto wraps up the year with a performance on the "Mark & Brian Christmas Show".

The new millennium starts with a Grammy nomination for Toto. Mindfields is nominated in the category of "Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical". In late January/early February, Steve Lukather does a short Japanese tour with Edgar Winter, while Toto hits the road again some weeks later for more U.S. West Coast dates. Simon Phillips releases an acoustic Jazz album together with Jeff Babko called Vantage Point in April. After a short Central America tour and some more U.S. shows, Toto (with Jeff Babko temporarily replacing David Paich) returns to Europe for a festival tour in June which they continue in August. In between, Steve Lukather teams up with Edgar Winter again for a European tour during July. After almost two years of touring, Toto takes a break which the band members use to work on other projects. Simon Phillips does a short clinic tour in England in fall, while Steve Lukather mixes the upcoming Luke/Carlton live album. David Paich writes and produces the new Boz Scaggs album and also continues working on the long term Toto box set project.

Simon Phillips and Jeff Babko take their Vantage Point project to the road in January 2001, touring Europe for two weeks. Together with Steve Lukather and Melvin Davis they also form a new band called Doves of Fire which plays 70's fusion music. In late March, Steve Lukather starts a tour of Asia with Larry Carlton to coincide with the release of their live album No Substitutions. Luke and Larry continue their world tour with a US leg in May and June, shortly interrupted by two Toto shows in Las Vegas on Memorial Day weekend, before leaving for a European tour in July. In August and September, Toto continues to play some shows in the U.S. and also open for Eric Clapton in Mexico in October. In November, Totos start recording a new album.

The new year starts with two Grammy nominations for Steve Lukather and Larry Carlton of which they end up winning one for Best Pop Instrumental Album - No Subsitutions (Live in Osaka). Luke and Simon's new band Doves of Fire tours Japan in February, and after their return Toto puts the finishing touches to the upcoming new album Through The Looking Glass.

In June, Steve Lukather records a Christmas album called SANTAmental which features a lot of special guest musicians. After returning from a short European festival tour in July, Toto sign a new worldwide recording deal with CMC, a division of EMI Recorded Music, to release Through The Looking Glass on October 14th. The first single "Could You Be Loved", written by Bob Marley, is released to radio stations in September. After the release of Through The Looking Glass, which rapidly climbs the European charts, Toto embark on their 25th anniversary world tour in late October which starts with a European leg and then continues until the end of December with lots of dates in the Far East.

In January 2003 Toto continue their world tour in Europe and film a live DVD at the Amsterdam show to be released later that year. Luke and Simon team up with Derek Sherinian again for his latest album. After the end of the second European leg in February, Simon starts mixing the upcoming live DVD which he finishes after Toto's US tour in April. In June and July, Toto hit the road again for the third European leg of the world tour.

(written by Petra Regemann, revised by Mary Oxborrow and authorized by Steve Lukather).

On June 5, 2008 Steve Lukather made an official announcement, 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."

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 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.
Your Toto stats
Toto's artists (14)
releases (26)
comments (sign in and write yours)