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Some stuff you probably didn’t know about Toto

Toto Members (1977 - Present)

The name Toto itself is one of the most versatile words used in languages throughout the word. In certain African dialects, its meaning is along the lines of diverse, which certainly goes a long way to explain the band’s musical style and the reason as to why they chose the name for the band. Another and more obvious reason is that it is the name of Dorothy’s dog in The Wizard of Oz. But the band may have chosen the name as an inside joke since their vocalist, Bobby Kimball’s, real name is Robert Toteaux!

Former vocalist Joseph Williams, who recently released a solo album and lent his singing voice to the adult Simba in the animated Disney film The Lion King, is the son of Boston Pops Orchestra conductor and film score composer John Williams. Joseph also has one movie score to his credit. He scored the erotic Alyssa Milano film Embrace of the Vampire.(Note:I haven’t been able to confirm that it was our Joseph Williams who scored the film yet but a Joseph Williams is definitely credited!)

Former Toto keyboardist Steve “The Professor” Porcaro not only co-wrote Michael Jackson’s 1983 hit Human Nature, but also composed the score for the Eddie Murphy action/comedy Metro and the UPN action/adventure drama series The Sentinel.

Even if you’ve never listened to a Toto album (and shame on you, if you haven’t), you’ve probably heard Toto play many times before. The members of Toto were well-known studio musicians before and since their banding together. Their work can be heard on recordings by such artists as Steely Dan, Lionel Richie, Meat Loaf, and Michael Jackson’s multi-platinum selling Thriller.

Here are a few of the recordings on which the members of Toto were involved (Note: More will be added as specific information becomes available):

The Toto Sci-Fi Connection:

Believe it or not, Toto actually does have a couple of sci-fi connections. First, and most obviously, is that in 1984 the band was approached by Twin Peaks creator David Lynch to compose the score for his film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s cult sci-fi novel Dune. The band composed all the music for the film, save Brian Eno’s haunting Prophecy Theme.

The second sci-fi connection is a little less obvious: on the liner notes for the band’s album,Tambu, guitarist Steve Lukather thanks the support of Lost in Space and Babylon 5 star Bill Mumy. The reason behind Mumy’s mention remains as enigmatic as the Minbari character he played on the fan favorite series.

Oh, and that doesn’t even begin to cover the fact that Toto’s 1979 song “99” is a love ballad set in a dystopian futuristic society where numbers have taken the place of names. (I know. I originally thought it might have had something to do with Barbara Feldon’s character from Get Smart! too. Go figure!)

This is something a lot of U.S. fans don’t know, but Toto is probably one of the best bands to hear live in concert. The problem is that most of time, sales of their records have been so dismal in the States that they’ve made the idea of a U.S. tour by the band seem ludicrous. Overseas, in Europe and the Far East, their concerts are among the most eagerly anticipated events of the year. Personally, I know of only one occasion where the band played close to the Pittsburgh area. That was back in 1988 during The Seventh One tour when the band played an amusement park show in New Jersey! If you ever find the band’s Absolutely Live or Livefields CD on import anywhere, or pick up a copy of the Live from Amsertdam CD or DVD, you’ll find out what I mean!

Glen Ballard, producer and co-writer of Alanis Morrisette’s multi-platinum album Jagged Little Pill co-wrote the songs The Road Goes On and Just Can’t Get To You on Tambu.

Toto’s Grammy-award winning song Rosanna was written for Steve Porcaro’s then-girlfriend, actress Rosanna Arquette. Rosanna apparently brought the boys food and stuff while they were recording Toto IV and was always there with a word of encouragement or to let them know when they were working too hard.

More Information to Come!!!