Toto is an American pop band founded in 1977 in Los Angeles. The band still has the original lineup, consisting of Steve Lukather, David Paich, and Joseph Williams, along with several popular touring musicians, including Robert “Sput” Flowers, John Pierce, Robert Creamford, Dominique “Xavier” Taplin, and Warren Ham. Toto has gone from strength to strength, going from being a small, obscure group to one of the biggest pop punk bands of their time. Their lyrics are extremely political, about things such as Vietnam, politics, drugs, immigration, and many other topics. A song called “opes” from the album Gaucho was even about the AIDS epidemic. After the death of singer Billie Jean, Toto replaced him.
Toto’s third album, Omniopsis, was released in March of this year. It was a major hit, selling over two million copies in its first week alone. This was the band’s first album to feature guest stars like David Bowie, Huey Lewis and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, as well as having the group performing with numerous artists. They also appeared on several other music videos during the album’s popularity, including ones for groups such as Rihanna, Skrillex, Macy Gray, Britney Spears, Elton John, and several others. The band finally returned to the studio to record the follow up to Omniopsis, which is called Flash.
The supergroup back with No I.D., consisting of Skrillex, Rihanna, Elton John, hologram artist Glassiella, and Kiranjit Santi, took a different turn with the release of their second album, Touch. Though it does not contain any of the original Toto members, it is their band to begin with. Though there were still no major hits on the album, it did end up selling better than the first, and did very well when it was re-releases. Though there were not any major hit singles on the album, No I.D., Elton John, and Skrillex, who all appeared on the first album, did return to perform and create some exciting music videos, with the help of producers that worked with them on the original, as well.
One can’t ignore Toto’s contribution to the early hip-hop world as well. Not only did they form the band Cheap Trick, but they also created the song, “Donna Done It Again.” This song remains their most famous single, although other members and producers of Toto, such as John Entwistle, Richard Swift, and others have come close to topping it. Even though they were more involved in the mainstream metal and rock genres, Toto still made their mark on American pop culture. A great example is the cover of their classic album American Pie, which features a picture of a toto going down an elevator to meet his lover.
Another group that is often mentioned when discussing the early years of Toto are the Yardbirds. Though they didn’t have a huge impact on popular music, their music still spoke for itself and helped to define the early American dream, which many Americans believed in. The band members themselves seem to have kept this belief in themselves, to this day, when explaining how the band started. Tommy Lee, who was known as a wild and crazy drummer, was actually working as a garbage collector, due to his insane drumming abilities. However, he was discovered by a promoter who saw his talent and signed him to Toto.
Many other bands, both American and international, have incorporated elements of rock into their sound, such as the Black Sabbath, Kiss, The Who, and AC/DC. Though Toto is not always the first band that comes to mind when people think of the original band, they do deserve credit for at least being in a position to continue making music after other acts had faded away. If they had not left us with their catalog, there would be very few bands that would be able to compete with the hits Toto has made over the years.