Since its formation, Toto has been defined by two things: their simplistic guitar-driven sound, and their popularity as a classic Americana band. The band has gone on to sell over four hundred studio albums, and countless live ones as well. And though most of the members now live in different parts of the world, they remain close friends and remain signed to Virgin Records. This article covers some of the enduringly popular Toto songs.
“Irene” (LP, 1978) This album features the hit “Blue Rose.” It also features the track “Irene,” which is about growing up in California. The album reached #1 in the United States in early 1978. The song’s title is taken from the opera “The Nutcracker” by Peter Sellars. “Irene” contains the first verse sung by Sellars, and the second verse sung by the entire orchestra.
“Haitian Divorce” (album, 1980) Toto played an entire concert encore with this track. It’s about the late Frank Sinatra. This album also featured “Blue Rose,” which features a duet between singer/songwriter Robert Flowers and guitarist John Lennon. Robert Plant is also on this album. “Irene” is a great showcase for Robert Plant’s amazing guitar skills, which had dramatically improved by this point.
“Iris” (LP, 1984) Here is Toto at their supercharged glam rock height. This album includes the hit “Irene.” It features a duet between George Harrison and Paul McCartney. This is also the band’s first appearance on “That’s All Right,” a legendary British single. All these factors combine to make “Iris” a massive hit.
“Bodhisattva” (LP, 1986) Another wonderful artist in the world of pop/rock/ classical/folk genre, Toto’s third album, “Bodhisattva” offers another masterpiece of a song. With a jangly rhythm and a gorgeous harmonies, this song has been known as one of the greatest masterpieces. Also, on this album, comes a track with heavy metal lyrics. It is “Reelin’ in the Years.” The first verse is, “So you think you’re somebody special/ somebody who should be alone / somebody who should be held accountable / you’ve got a long ways to go to / till you understand the meaning of loyalty.”
“Bodhisattva” was Toto’s first album to feature the double-neck guitar. A popular practice at the time, it was first used on this album to provide an additional melody. The song was later used as the B side for George Harrison’s song, “My Sweet Lord.” This guitar technique became extremely popular in the folk music circles.