Toto is an American rock band formed in 1976 in Los Angeles. The band's current lineup consists of Joseph Williams (lead vocals), David Paich (keyboards, vocals), Steve Porcaro (keyboards), Steve Lukather (guitars, vocals), plus touring members Lenny Castro (percussion), Warren Ham (saxophone), Shem von Schroeck (bass) and Shannon Forrest (drums). Toto is known for a musical style that combines elements of pop, rock, soul, funk, progressive rock, hard rock, R&B, blues, and jazz.
Paich and Jeff Porcaro had played together as session musicians on several albums and decided to form a band. David Hungate, Lukather, Steve Porcaro and Bobby Kimball were recruited before the first album release. The band enjoyed great commercial success in the late 1970s and 1980s, beginning with the band's eponymous debut released in 1978. With the release of the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Toto IV (1982), Toto became one of the best-selling music groups of their era.
Widely known for the Top 5 hits "Hold the Line", "Rosanna", and "Africa", the makeup of the group continues to evolve. Hungate left in 1982, followed by Kimball in 1984, but who rejoined the band in 1998 until 2008. Jeff Porcaro died in 1992 of a heart attack. Hungate rejoined Toto as a touring musician and later a band member. In 2008, Lukather announced his departure from the band, and the remaining band members later went their separate ways. In the summer of 2010, Toto reformed and went on a short European tour, with a new lineup, to benefit Mike Porcaro, who had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and was no longer an active member of the band. He died in 2015.
The band has released 17 studio albums, and has sold over 40 million records worldwide. The group has been honored with several Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009.
The members of Toto were regulars on albums by Steely Dan, Seals and Crofts, Boz Scaggs, Sonny and Cher, and many others, contributing to many of the most popular records of the 1970s. Keyboardist David Paich, son of musician and session player/arranger Marty Paich, rose to fame after having co-written much of Scaggs's Silk Degrees album. Having played on many sessions with drummer Jeff Porcaro (the son of session percussionist Joe Porcaro), whom he met while attending Grant High School in Van Nuys, California, where they formed the band Rural Still Life, Paich began to discuss seriously with Porcaro the possibility of them forming their own band. They brought in bassist and fellow session vet David Hungate, having played with him in the backing band for Scaggs. In addition, the duo asked fellow Grant High School students, guitarist Steve Lukather (who also played in Scaggs's band as a replacement for Les Dudek) and Jeff Porcaro's brother Steve Porcaro (keyboards) to join the team. Lukather and Steve Porcaro were in the same year at Grant and continued the band Rural Still Life (the name shortened to Still Life) after Paich and Jeff graduated. With the addition of former S.S. Fools singer Bobby Kimball, the group began to work on their first album in 1976 after signing with Columbia Records.
Once the band came together, David Paich began composing what would become the eponymous debut album, Toto. According to popular myth, at the first recording sessions, in order to distinguish their own demo tapes from other bands' in the studio, Jeff Porcaro wrote the word "Toto" on them. In the early 1980s, band members told the press that the band was named after the dog in The Wizard of Oz. After the completion of the first album, the band and record were still unnamed. David Hungate, after viewing the name on the demo tapes, explained to the group that the words "In Toto" in Latin translated to "all-encompassing." Because the band members played on so many records and so many musical genres, they adopted the name "Toto" as their own.
After its release, Toto climbed the charts quickly, earning popularity with the hit single "Hold the Line", as well as the charting "I'll Supply the Love" and "Georgy Porgy", featuring Cheryl Lynn. The band garnered international acclaim and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Shortly thereafter, in early 1979, Toto embarked on their first American tour in support of the debut album. For the tour, Toto brought along two additional musicians, Tom Kelly (guitar, backup vocals) and Lenny Castro (percussion), to increase the depth of the sound, and continued to bring additional touring musicians for all subsequent tours. (See the "Tour Musicians" section below).