Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
US AOR group formed in LA '78 by top session musicians whose credits incl. Aretha Franklin, Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan, Jackson Browne, Sonny and Cher, Earth Wind and Fire, countless others; they began in schoolboy band Rural Life. Drummer Jeff Porcaro, his keyboardist brother Steve (sons of jazz percussionist), keyboardist David Paich (son of Marty), David Hungate on bass, Steve Lukathar on guitar, vocalist Bobby Kimball. Name was from Kimball's real name (Toteaux) and/or name of the dog in Wizard Of Oz. Eponymous '78 debut was predictably slick, top ten LP in USA; 'Hold The Line' top five USA (14 UK), two others top 50 USA; Hydra had top 30 '99' but slumped in chart, as did Turn Back '81; but Toto IV '82 was no. 4 LP with seven Grammy nominations, top 30 'Make Believe', no. 2 'Rosanna' (no. 12 UK), no. 1 'Africa' (3 UK), the last unusual in being keyboard-based rather than guitar-riff rock and showing a mellower outlook. A third Porcaro, Mike, replaced Hungate '82, but defection of the rasp-voiced Kimball was more serious, replaced by Dennis 'Fergie' Fredreikson (Kimball turned up in Frank Farian's studio-HM band for Corporation cover of 'Stairway To Heaven' '85); Isolation '84 found them slipping out of the top 40 albums; contribution to soundtrack of widely panned SF film Dune that year made worse flop. They continued session careers in tandem; Lukathar wrote top five 'Turn Your Love Around' for George Benson. Despite sellout status in Japan they rarely ventured outside the studio; this often showed in the clinical quality of their music. They kept going through Fahrenheit '86 (no. 40, with new singer Joseph Williams), The Seventh One '88 (no. 64), compilation Past To Present '90. Jeff Porcaro d 5 Aug. '92 aged 38 of a heart attack, following an allergic reaction to a pesticide he used in his garden.