A Boy’s Life – The Search For the Original Lead Guitar
Toto is an American pop band formed in 1977 in Los Angeles, California as a fusion of various musical styles. Toto is best known for a distinctive musical style, which blends elements of rock, pop, folk, soul, rock, funk, classical, alternative rock and country. The name Toto means “ten” in Japanese. The name did not bother the band since they wanted their music to be more melodic than their many contemporaries. Toto was considered a pioneer in the development of pop music. Their music has influenced artists such as Bob Dylan, Huey Lewis and Michael Jackson.
Toto’s first album, Jazz, was issued on what was at the time a major record label in the United States. It was an immediate sensation in both the music industry and the general public. The album was a huge success and became the second best selling album of all time, selling over four hundred copies in its first week alone. It was also certified gold by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Much of Toto’s success can be attributed to the lead guitar work of Takashi Murakami. Murakami studied classical guitar while working under the guidance of Takashi Yamauchi, who was a member of Toto. He would go on to become one of the best guitarists in the world. After leaving Toto in the early seventies, he continued to work with them and helped create new recordings. Most notably, he was responsible for the creation of the classic album Metal Fusion.
During the eighties, Toto also had a string of hits with their song, Kong long salad. This song included the popular line, “Where have all the flowers gone?” The band’s next hit, A Boy Is Born, was written and produced by Mike Oldfield. A Boy is Born featured Oldfield’s distinctive deep voice and the band’s trademark double guitar. Both acoustic and electric versions of the song were recorded and produced by Toto.
After A Boy is Born, Toto had a lineup change that brought bassist Rumbo Thompson, guitarist Hiro Yamane, and drummer Tommy Lee. The result was a lineup featuring a full band instead of a lead vocalist. The result was a more fluid sound, which gave Toto a chance to experiment with various sound arrangements, including string quartet, string choirs, and a horn section. This experimentation came to make a form on their self titled album, which lasted for two years and featured guest stars like Carlos Santana, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and inductees such as Paul McCartney, inductees Ozzy Osbourne, and Van Halen. The album ended up selling very well and was later recorded again with David Gilmour and Roger Daltrey.
After A Boy is Born, Toto went on to record a series of albums that were hugely popular, including Stairway to Heaven, Here, There, She Pooped, and Holy Grail. All of these were well received, but even with a full cast, it was still not enough to shake off the bluesy guitar sound that helped make A Boy’s Life so successful. That sound has never really gone out of style, and with new artists like Gretchen Wilson and Matt Damon, there is little doubt that Toto will continue to explore new territory. If you are looking for Toto records, they are easily found on the internet. Check them out!