TOTO (pronounced “toot-oh tah-to”) is an American pop-rock group founded in 1977 by singer, guitarist, and bassist Steve Porcaro. Its current lineup includes David Paich, Joseph Williams, Dave Lukather, and Steve Lukather. The band first achieved mainstream popularity in the United States and Europe with the release of the album “Kicking Around” (1977), which sold well over twenty thousand copies. They continued their growth in the following decades, selling over one hundred and fifty million albums worldwide. The most successful of these was the “Shine a Light,” which received sixteen Grammy Awards and sold well over two million copies worldwide.
The group first hit the U.S. market with “Shimla,” which was released in May 1979. The album peaked at number forty-five on the U.S. charts and sold over four thousand copies. They went on to release “Rivers of Babylon,” “Solo” (recorded by Paul McCartney), “Aja” (also recorded by McCartney), and “Mountain of the Sun.” All of these albums hit number one on the U.S. charts, and “Shimla” received a platinum certification. TOTO’s next album, “Nemesis,” was released in September 1980 and sold well over one hundred and fifty thousand copies. Another platinum album, “Pioneer” followed later that year, as did the follow-up “The River of Babylon.”
“Shimla” was one of TOTO’s last albums before their break up, but it still managed to sell over two million copies. The album featured a lead-off single “Trouble,” which topped the charts in the United States, and which was covered by both John Lennon and George Harrison. The album also contained hits such as “Shake Me Up,” “Mountain of the Sun,” “Mondo Grosso,” and “Babylon,” and “Aja” remains to this day their best-selling single.
TOTO eventually broke up in 1992, when Porcaro left the group. Several other members of the group stayed to form the band Black Label Society. However, TOTO continued to tour well into the nineteen nineties and even into the new millennium, with the popular “Come Together” (1996) and “Starry Night” (2020). Both of these albums received much critical acclaim, as well as gold and platinum certifications. and solidified the group as one of the most popular groups of its genre. Following the end of TOTO, the group reunited several members to form a new band, called Black Label Society, later known as Black Labelz.
The band still tours regularly, playing both arena rock and blues-styled pop. The live band still performs to a crowd filled with dancers and performers, who wear costumes resembling those worn by famous blues legends. The group also performs on numerous occasions, including at festivals and clubs around the world.