Toto's Steve Lukather celebrating Yamaha's 125th Anniversary Live Around the World Dealer Concert performs at the Hyperion Theater on January 25, 2013 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Yamaha)

Toto came together in 1977 when two accomplished studio musicians, David Paich (keyboards, vocals) and Jeff Porcaro (drums), decided to form their own band. Why only play on other people’s albums? Being in Los Angeles, Paich and Porcaro had access to many other talented musicians and soon recruited David Hungate (bass), Steve Lukather(guitar), Steve Porcaro (keyboards, vocals), and Bobby Kimball (vocals) to join them. They quickly went from being session players for other acts such as Steely Dan, Seals and Crofts, and Boz Scaggs, to taking center stage themselves.

Toto Takes Off

Within a year, Toto had released their self-titled debut album and scored their first hit, “Hold the Line,” which peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978. Four years later, the band enjoyed even greater success with their album, Toto IV. The first single, “Rosanna,” reached #2 on the U.S. chart. That was immediately followed by “Africa,” Toto’s first and only #1 hit on the Hot 100. This edition of the Throwback Threesome features the videos for all three of those songs.

Over the span of their lengthy career, Toto has released 14 studio albums and sold over 40 million records worldwide. The group has also won several Grammy Awards. Original members David Paich and Steve Lukather remain in the lineup and they still go out on the road. You can see Toto’s upcoming tour dates on the band’s website.

  • Hold The Line (1978)

    This is the rocker that started it all for Toto. “Hold the Line” was released as the band’s debut single and lead single from their self-titled album in September 1978. According to Songfacts, Toto was one of the few American bands making music videos before MTV went on the air in 1981. For “Hold The Line,” they produced a simple performance video that ended up getting millions of views on YouTube. Love the rainbow suspenders!

  • Rosanna (1982)

    Released as the opening track and first single from their 1982 album, Toto IV, “Rosanna” was written by David Paich. He said the song was based on numerous girls he had known but simply used Rosanna Arquette’s first name because the actress was dating band mate Steve Porcaro at the time. The song won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1983. The video for features actress Cynthia Rhodes and a brief appearance by the late Patrick Swayze. They would go on to star together in the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing.

  • Africa (1982)

    Per Songfacts, David Paich was moved to write “Africa” after watching a documentary about the suffering and deaths of people on that continent. The song reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as on Canada’s RPM Top Singles chart. In 2018, the song returned to the charts after Twitter users convinced the band Weezer to record a cover of “Africa.” They even made their own video, starring Weird Al Yankovic. Toto returned the favor by covering Weezer’s “Hash Pipe.”

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