No AOR collectors album collection would be complete without this debut album from the legendary Toto.
Written by: gdmonline
SERIAL: JC 35317
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Bobby Kimball – vocals * Steve Lukather – guitars, vocals * David Paich – keyboards, vocals * Steve Porcaro – keyboards * David Hungate – bass * Jeff Porcaro – drums, percussion
<TRACK LISTING: 01 Child’s Anthem * 02 I’ll Supply The Love * 03 Georgy Porgy * 04 Manuela Run * 05 You Are The Flower * 06 Girl Goodbye * 07 Takin’ It Back * 08 Rockmaker * 09 Hold The Line * 10 Angela
WEBLINKS: Site Link
The session music scene in Los Angeles during the mid 1970’s was notable for the contribution of several leading musicians. Keyboardist David Paich and drummer Jeff Porcaro had appeared on many albums during this formative period. After bumping into each other and working co-jointly on projects, the duo toyed with the idea of forming their own band.
Convinced that this was a good idea, the duo bought in Jeff’s brother Steve on keyboards and budding guitarist Steve Lukather. Bassist David Hungate was also a participant on many of the same sessions, and was asked to hook on. The vocals were a different proposition, the new band deciding on Louisiana native Bobby Kimball to front Toto. He had come from the band S.S Fools.
The sextet went into the studio during 1977 and recorded all the material that would make up the debut album. Even after it was finished, the group still had no name, nor a name for the album. According to Wikipedia, it states that the name ‘Toto’ means ‘all-encompassing’ in Latin. Seeing as the band members had played on so many projects prior to their formation, the name ‘Toto’ stuck, and so history has begun.
The first thing that strikes you about this album is its variation. This cannot be helped really, given that six members bring different thoughts and ideas to the table. At least one of the good things here is that the album/band sound extremely tight, and that they are able to mix it up not only during the album, but also during the songs.
Toto’s chops are a given an extensive (and pompous) workout on the instrumental opener ‘Child’s Anthem’ – which is still belted out as an intro piece even to this day. Their first serious stint at commercial chart material comes as early as track two, with Bobby Kimball belting out the lyrics to ‘I’ll Supply The Love’. The riff to this song is signature Toto, if not signature Lukather!
The mellow strains of ‘Georgy Porgy’ touch on R&B/Soul with a hint of disco too. Probably not by design, but the band are talented enough to play any musical style. The racy ‘Manuela Run’ is a style the band would recreate when Joseph Williams would join the band some years later, while ‘You Are The Flower’ takes a dig at Boz Scaggs style of West Coast/AOR, which was popular at the time.
One of the few truly aggressive tracks on the album is ‘Girl Goodbye’ – the guitar power and strong vocals on display here goes to disprove any wimp tag that may have been applied to the band by misread music journalists of the day.. An array of interesting keyboards introduce ‘Takin’ It Back’, a cruisy tune in the mould of Christopher Cross with some cool funky bass lines from Hungate.
‘Rockmaker’ is another of the harder edged tunes which stands out, but its the next track ‘Hold The Line’ which won all the prizes for best track on the album. Stuck way down the order at track 9, the song was blasted on radio (and video) and did well around the world. In fact, many years later, this song is an anthem for all of AOR-dom!
The album closes with the semi-ballad ‘Angela, in hindsight not the strongest track ever offered by the band, and perhaps the only disappointment of the album.
The album would be notable for three songs doing well on the charts during Toto’s first season in the limelight. ‘Hold The Line’, ‘Georgy Porgy’ and ‘I’ll Supply The Love’ all made it into the US Billboard Top 50, the band earning a Grammy for best new artist in 1978.
The band also toured North America in early 1979, before settling into the studio again for their second album ‘Hydra’. No AOR collectors album collection would be complete without this album. Enough said.
Hold The Line
I’ll Supply The Love
Entire Album (Select Tracks)