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What Makes This Song Great (Toto Content)

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Altitude, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    Here's Rick Beato's breakdown of "Rosanna" and why it's such a great song.

    If you're interested in learning more about music production - fascinating.

    If you're of a certain age, you know about Toto, what and who they were, and how good they were. If you're not, maybe all you know about Toto is that they wrote "Africa," watch this. So good.

    John j, FilterFunk, mrcbass and 42 others like this.
  2. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I've seen this before. Great song. Great musicians. Shame about Jeff!
    Artman, nixdad, Pbassmanca and 2 others like this.
  3. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    When I listen to the drums and percs I can hear a pretty clear go-go influence. Maybe it was just coincidence. :) Definitely falls into the "they don't make 'em like this anymore" category.
    FilterFunk, nixdad, dralionux and 4 others like this.
  4. There's no real secret to this. These guys were hired killers of the first order who, as some of the best studio musicians in that heyday, having absorbed the work they did with all the best producers and engineers of the day, made killer music on their own when all they had to answer to was themselves. Strong family ties didn't hurt either, they'd known each other since school days and had all grown up in and around the business. Anchored around the magnificent Jeff Porcaro, this caliber of work is not unexpected by any means.

    I love the earlier 'Georgy Porgy' (the chord changes kill me . . . . ) and the huge propulsion of Jeff and Mike P on 'Pamela' is like watching the engine room on a large ship. God Rest their souls.

    Quinn Roberts, 74p, Artman and 17 others like this.
  5. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    The only thing I'd add is that at least 3 of the guys together at any one time (Lukather, Paich, Kimball/Williams) had voices good enough to anchor any other band on their own. Put them together in Toto and we got an unassailable amount of vocal talent.

    There were a few other bands kind of like that at the time (Journey comes to mind, the Eagles a bit earlier), but these days very few bands that have so much vocal horsepower.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  6. You know, Alt, I hate to sound like an old curmudgeon (though I most assuredly am one by now), but after music like this, for me, things have never been that good again. There he goes again . . . . .
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Back in the day, "Rosanna" was (seemingly) on the radio every 20 minutes. Hated it.
    Just finished up Lukather's book...so I'm revisiting Toto. I actually like "Rosanna" once again.
    Steve P's synth ride is majestic (all 8 bars of it?!?)
    The outro/jam is cool.

    They went thru a lot of vocalists...apparently, some could not sing as well in the studio vs. the stage. I did not know (or forgot) Toto briefly had a Michael Jackson-annabe from South Africa as a lead singer.

    So, listening today-
    Joe Williams is their best singer.
    There are 2 "recents" concerts on Amazon Prime...one has Kimball (with Lee Sklar), the other has Williams (with Nathan East).
    IMO, Sklar sounds better with Toto. Maybe it was the mix?
    Their current bassist? Lukather sez he sings & plays his ass off.

    Drum-wise post-Porcaro?
    Simon Phillips, no doubt, is a beast.
    Ricky Lawson (RIP) briefly had the gig.
    The guy they have now was recommended by Hungate. Apparently, he has the Jeff P. thing down.
    nixdad, dralionux, wmmj and 3 others like this.
  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I just re-read the section on "Rosanna"...for the feel, there were 2 songs they were digging at that time-
    • "Babylon Sisters"
    • "Fool In The Rain"
    Lukather calls it a "slinky Shuffle...but uniquely Jeff.
  9. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    I don't disagree; I should have listed Joe Williams above. I edited.

    Certainly, his voice has aged the best of the group. I was just watching a bit of that concert also.
    nixdad and JimK like this.
  10. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Hated that S. African singer. Great voice but just not for Toto. Joe Williams kills. Kimball....meh but had some good moments. Sklar killed during his time with Toto. As good as Nathan East is...I felt he mailed it in bass wise but he did add vocals so some upside. Simon Phillips....DAMN! Almost too good! LOL. I loved his technical side.

    Shannon Forrest (drums), Shem von Schroeck (bass) and Dominique "Xavier" Taplin (keys) are the new guys.
  11. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    For those who don't know...Joe Williams is the son of the famous composer John Williams.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  12. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    My wife and I saw Toto just last year, with Joseph Williams on vocals, Steve Porcaro and David Paich on keys (David singing as well), and of course Luke on guitar and vocals. Also, there was Lenny Castro on percussion; Warren Ham on sax, flute and backing vocals; Shannon Forrest on drums (he was solid); Shem von Schroeck on bass and backing vocals (very good); and Dominique "Xavier" Taplin on keys. One of the all-time best shows I've ever seen. Those guys still bring it and are amazing musicians. If they come back this way, we'll see them again.
    ExaltBass and JimK like this.
  13. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Loved that band. If the new version comes nearby I may have to pull the trigger.

    My favorite thing about them is the subtleties in every song. You can listen to each sing ten times and hear something you didn't the times before.

    Are/were they a little dated? Sure. But I would give anything to have some well-produced music being put out by fantastic players in the mainstream today.
    ExaltBass, ELG60, wmmj and 3 others like this.
  14. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    When watching the video, it also makes me realize that the musicians, producers, and engineers are way more talented than I am!
    ExaltBass and smogg like this.
  15. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    One of the huge disappointments in my music "career" came when a band I was in during the late 90s learned this. We NAILED the vocals. (I sang high backups.) We took the time to get it right. I think we spent half of a rehearsal on that one song.

    When we finished playing it at the bar...… crickets. Grunge had murdered music by then. It was too late. Anything high-production was seen as "cheesy" by that time. :sour:

  16. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    Gotta love Rick Beato. If anyone isn't already subscribed to his channel, do it now!
  17. Hired killers in a band named after a little dog....

    Seriously, +1 to all the comments in this thread. Didn't know they were still a going concern.

    Our town's HS has award-winner a capella choir that used to do a phenomenal "Africa."
    Jeff Elkins likes this.
  18. One of my bands do this. Kills it every time.
  19. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Would love for my Top40 band to do Rosanna but the BL/lead singer can't hit those high notes. He already downtunes most of the songs.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  20. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Wonderful music, wonderful arrangements, too bad their heyday was also the Era of Big Hair. Seriously, my only complaint is that I wish they'd hired Fagan and Becker to write lyrics for them. "Pamela Don't break this heart of mine" doesn't do much for me.

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