THE RELEASE OF the debut Toto album signalled a significant tipping point in the development of rock. Similar sounding acts such as Foreigner, Journey and Steely Dan had sowed the seeds of melodic AOR but none at that point had truly crafted the definitive role model. Toto took basic elements and turned them into pure gold by crafting a sound that was precise, cultivated and pretty much flawless, blending memorable songs with state of the art production and melodies that would propel their songs onto the airwaves from Los Angeles to London and all points in between.
Formed by the cream of the LA session circuit, the band’s credential were further enhanced by keyboard player and composer David Paich, a man who had carved a successful song writing reputation with artists such as Boz Scaggs. Joining him was guitar prodigy Steve Lukather, lead vocalist Bobby Kimball, bassist David Hungate, and two brothers in keyboardist Steve and drummer Jeff Porcaro; all men with their eyes on the prize and talent to burn.
Originally issued in 1978, the album produced two massive worldwide hit singles, ‘Hold The Line’ and ‘I’ll Supply The Love’, securing them a top ten album in the Billboard Charts and double Platinum certification. Elsewhere the tracks range from the soulful pop of ‘Georgy Porgy’ to the raging, almost malevolent, hard rock of ‘Girl Goodbye’. Special Deluxe Collector’s Edition, fully remastered sound shaped from 24 BIT digital technology, 1 bonus track, 16 page full colour booklet, 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork and rare photos.
IT’S FAIR TO say that Toto’s debut album was one of the surprise events of 1978. It was rammed to the rafters with methodically crafted tracks, and produced two bonafide hit singles; ‘I’ll Supply The Love’ and ‘Hold The Line’. It was these two songs that reshaped the sound of melodic rock, giving rise to the style that forever onwards became known as AOR. Certified double platinum, the future for Toto looked assured or so they thought...
When they returned with their second album ‘Hydra’, originally released in 1979, their fans and critics were confronted with a work that although immediately recognisable, was considerably more advanced and complex. Instead of serving up another dish of stylistic pop rock, they reached deep inside and committed to elaborate compositions and intricate arrangements. In many respects the approach could be traced directly back to the band’s progressive rock leanings; something that their musical ability and dexterity had always hinted at. Actually ‘Hydra’ is arguably Toto’s finest hour.
It is a record that combines all the positive aspects of a band that not only wrote great songs but also presented them in a format that wasn’t clichéd or pedestrian. The title track, for instance, is a seven minutes plus anthem that has become a career cornerstone, whilst shorter, sharper tracks such as ‘White Sister’ and ‘All Us Boys’ reinforced the AOR backbone in spectacular form. Special Deluxe Collector’s Edition, fully remastered sound shaped from 24 BIT digital technology, 16 page full colour booklet, 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork and rare photos.
YOU COULD SAY that ‘Turn Back’ is the lost Toto album. Whilst their debut record achieved double platinum sales figures, producing two global hit singles, and it’s follow up ‘Hydra’, was eventually acknowledged as a neo progressive rock triumph, ‘Turn Back’ flew beneath the radar and barely caused a blip on the charts before disappearing from sight.
The fact that their follow up album ‘Toto IV’ has won an unprecedented seven Grammys and contained three top 10 hit singles only seems to emphasise the point. But although it is the least well known early era Toto album, to die-hard fans of the band it is regarded as one of their creative highpoints. Originally issued in 1981, it found the band taking a far more aggressive approach, dialling down the keyboards and upping the guitar quota by a considerable margin. This was, for all intents and purposes, an arena rock album designed to stave off their detractors and emphasise that they could hold their own against meatier acts such as Foreigner and Boston.
Once again, much of the material was written or co-written by David Paich but the songs are tougher and far more dynamic than their previous work. Much of this was due to the enlistment of renowned British co-producer Geoff Workman who provided a raw, heavy sound. Highlights include ‘Goodbye Elenore’, ‘A Million Miles Away’ and the brilliantly arranged ‘English Eyes’, a candidate for their greatest ever track. Special Deluxe Collector’s Edition, fully remastered sound shaped from 24 BIT digital technology, Produced by Geoff Workman,16 page full colour booklet, 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork and rare photos.