#8 – I Will Remember from the 1995’s ‘Tambu.’ Like it’s predecessor, ‘Kingdom of Desire’ Lukather was the sole lead singer. This album was more like the old commercial Toto. It was also the first Toto studio album without the great Jeff Porcaro who died on August 5, 1992. His replacement was a Brit who blew my mind on a little known but classic debut solo album by Mike Rutherford of Genesis, ‘Smallcreeps Day.’ Simon Phillips, like Porcaro is one of the best drummers who walked this earth. His resume includes The Who, Judas Priest, Jon Anderson, Jeff Beck, Mike Oldfield, Tears for Fears among others. This tune had those melancholy harmonies that so many fans loved and the album had the perfect Toto I and IV mix of ballads to rockers.
#7 – ‘I Won’t Hold You Back’ from 1982 “Toto IV. The big one. Another one with Lukather on lead vocals. It features Eagles’ bass player Timothy B. Schmit on backing vocals. If you stop and listen it sounds exactly like him. Lukather wrote the tune in 1981 during the ‘Turn Back’ session but thought the ballad would not fit on that harder edged album. Toto IV, which won 6 Grammy s was more of a band-written album. Lukather told Something Else Reviews, “After Turn Back wasn’t much of a hit, everybody jumped on it. We wanted to make something great to prove that we could. That album turned into a centerpiece of our career. We worked very hard on it.” It reached #10 on the singles chart in 1983.
#6 – ‘Stop Loving You’ from the 1988 “The Seventh One” album. Many fans consider this the best Toto album of all time. Just because it didn’t sell as well in North America doesn’t mean it’s not one of their high points. In fact ‘The Seventh One’ via the tunes in the poll received 1,924 of the 14,577 votes – that’s 13.19%. That made the album come ahead of the Toto debut album and ‘Hydra.’ I’ve often called ‘The Seventh One’ the most underrated album of all time. Plus the project had four tracks in the Top 25 and ‘Stop Loving You’ usually comes in at #1 in Toto polls (especially European ones) and it was the leader in our chart as well until a few others caught up in the last three weeks of voting. That’s because according to Lukather it went #1 in numerous countries except the U.S. He says the President of Columbia Records split and no one was running things. With the strength of the tune around the world it seems the company dropped the ball.
#5 – I’ll Be Over You from the 1986. This was the most voted tune from ‘Fahrenheit’ which was the 4th most popular Toto album on our poll – garnering 1555 votes which was 10.6% of the 14,577 overall votes. Co-written by Lukather and Randy Goodrum who has had many big hits. He wrote ‘You Needed Me’ for Anne Murray, co-wrote ‘Oh Sherrie’ and ‘Foolish Heart’ for Steve Perry, 20/20 for George Benson, ‘Who’s Holding Donna Now’ for De Barge and loads of others. Like the ‘Isolation’ album which had a new lead singer with Fergie Frederiksen but the hit was sung by David Paich ‘Fahrenheit’ also was the debut of the great Joseph Williams but Lukather was the singer on this one. The video featured a snippet shot of the recreation of the cover and the boys playing on the roof of a high rise with the little help of an old friend (Michael McDonald).
#4 – Pamela from the 1988 and ‘The Seventh One’ album. As Steve Lukather mentioned the head of CBS left the company just when this song and album was released adding to the heartbreak of a classic album falling through he cracks. Pamela was, at the time, the modern day incarnation of ‘Rosanna,’ which was written by David Paich who co-wrote ‘Pamela’ with Joseph Williams who sings the tune. It reached #22 on Billboards Singles chart on March 26, 1988. For most bands that an amazing feat but this was ‘Pamela’ easily a top 10 tune. The great news is the album has just grown with time and this chart is proof of that. And speaking of ‘Pamela’ who is this girl. No, really who is this woman. She was the main model/actress to play the lead on this video..and then there’s this one and this one. Her face also appears on the ‘Stop Loving You’ video. Williams does this song such justice. He makes you stare at the speakers and Jeff Porcaro’s groove on this tune – now that’s tasty. When I was taking drum lessons I insisted on learning it and my teacher David DiTomaso told me, “You’re not ready to do this.”
#3 – ‘Hold the Line’ from the 1978 self titled debut album. Written by David Paich and sung by Bobby Kimball this was the band’s signature song until Toto ‘IV.’ Power/pop/rock at it’s best. I was in high school when it came out. Everyone wanted to know who these cats were. It started with Paich, who was 23 in 1977, for instance, while his high school friends Steve Lukather and brothers Steve Porcaro, Jeff Porcaro were much older than their years in skills. The other part of the puzzle was another older figure bassist David Hungate who was 29 in 1977 and Bobby Kimball was 30. ‘Hold the Line’ was their very first hit reaching #5 on November 11, 1978. It spent 14 weeks on the chart. The tune went gold and the album went double Platinum in the U.S. Alone, selling two million copies. Lukather says even though, back then, Paich was the primary songwriter he was encouraging the rest of the band to contribute songs which with every album happened more and more. Toto also showed their wide spectrum of influences on that first album with tunes as different as ‘Hold the Line’ and, for instance, and “‘Georgy Porgy.’
#2 – Africa from the 1982 monster ‘Toto IV.’ Well, I sure you’ve guessed what #1 is. Written by Paich and Jeff Porcaro great scholars have tried to figure out what this song means but you know what? Porcaro once said it’s about, “a white boy is trying to write a song on Africa, but since he’s never been there, he can only tell what he’s seen on TV or remembers in the past.” Paich says,”At the beginning of the ’80s I watched a late night documentary on TV about all the terrible death and suffering of the people in Africa. It both moved and appalled me, and the pictures just wouldn’t leave my head. I tried to imagine how I’d feel about if I was there and what I’d do.”Lukather says he didn’t think it would be a hit but is sure glad it was since it’s ended up being the bands only #1 song on the billboard charts. It was featured on ‘Family Guy,’ and ‘South Park’ and there are tons of covers and samples of the tune. Sung by Paich and Kimball it’s still one of their most played songs on the radio. ‘Africa’ was the third single from ‘Toto IV” after ‘Rosanna’ and ‘Make Believe’ and have we mentioned that the album won 6 Grammy Awards? Album of the Year, Producer of the Year for the band, and Record of the Year for “Rosanna” just to name three.
#1 – Rosanna from the same album from 1982 ‘Toto IV.’ After tabulating all the song votes this was also the number one album with 1939 Votes for 13.3% of the 14,577 Total Votes. It’s followed by ‘The Seventh One,’ ‘Toto I,’ ‘Fahrenheit,’ and ‘Toto XIV.’ Sung by Lukather and Kimball the video featured a 26 year old beauty as the lead dancer named Cynthia Rhodes. She was months away from meeting her future husband Richard Marx on the set of the sequel to ‘Saturday Night Fever,’ ‘Staying Alive.’ They divorced in 2014. It was the last album for bassist David Hungate. After the recording he and his family moved to Nashville. He became an in-demand session player. He had been with the band for five years. He came back a few times most notably for the recording and tour of ‘Toto XIV.’ He left after that tour in 2015. His replacement was a true brother of the band – Mike Porcaro who stayed with them until 2007 after being diagnosed with ALS. He died at the age of 59 on March 15, 2015. ‘Rosanna’ features a drum groove that some drummers stay away from because it’s tough to master. The famous Jeff Porcaro half time shuffle. A combination of the Bernard Purdie groove and Led Zeppelin’s ‘Fool In the Rain’ groove by John Bonham. If you want to be a serious drummer, or at least well rounded you need to get this one down. The album is their biggest seller going 3 times platinum in the U.S. alone.
Thanks to everyone who voted. We kept the poll open for 2 1/2 months and the response was overwhelming.
Toto will have a new album out and tour in 2017 and Lukather is writing his autobiography which will be out in 2018. Check out our sister channel Rock History Music for a full report on that.
Toto is that band that brings all kinds of treats to the party. Their range is wide and with Toto XIV in 2015 being one of their most inspired projects after 38 years, at that point, you have to ask yourself what other band in Rock and Roll has stayed so young in spirit and so seasoned in their craft. I can’t think of anyone else. Expect to hear much more from Steve Lukather, David Paich, Steve Porcaro and Joseph Williams. – by John Beaudin
John Beaudin has been in major market radio (Edmonton, Vancouver & Calgary) for 33 years and a music journalist since 1989. He graduated from Broadcasting school as a news man so he would have the skills to write about the artists that inspired him since he bought his first album, “Madman Across The Water” by Elton John as a teen. In the 80’s Beaudin was the host of the syndicated radio show “The Cross Canada Report” which had two version (Rock and A/C). Beaudin was also asked to be a judge at the Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammys) Twice. He has anchored every position in radio including morning and afternoon drive and was a Program and Music Director for The Breeze and California 103 in Calgary. He currently hosts the popular Lovesongs at QM-FM in Vancouver.
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