Bringing Back the ’80s with TOTO’s Classic Seventh Album (1988)

Toto and The Seventh Album

toto seventh oneToto is a household name when it comes to classic rock music and no one can change that. The best time to play their timeless classics? Well, that would be anytime! Is there actually a person out there who has never heard of “Africa” or “Rosanna” or “Hold the Line”? I don’t think so. Late ’70s and early ’80s were unquestionably the heydays of Toto. From their smashing 1978 debut to their fourth release in 1982 which is basically synonymous with ’80s rock music, the band was just at the top of the game.

toto straight
TOTO – Straight for the Heart (Photo retrieved fromhttp://www.45cat.com/record/3807945)

I grew up with Toto IV and that album will always have a very special place in my heart. I think the majority of fans would also pick this album as their favorite and for a reason! As I was getting older and had more chances to experience and understand music and formed a solid music personality, I discovered that when it comes to Toto, their seventh studio album goes right at the top of the list of my personal favorites. I don’t think it’s a popular opinion because neither the original voices of Toto, Bobby Kimball or Steve Lukather (who I adore so much) are the ones taking the lead on this one;. When Toto were re-introduced in my life at a later point, I used to listen to “Straight for the Heart” all the time, every day! This is till today one of the most upbeat and bright songs I have ever heard of. I got the album eventually and here we are – to a point where I can, with certainty, state that this is my favorite Toto album and not only because of that one song I love so much; there are just so many things happening on it! 

 

Before we get to the seventh one, let’s go back further in time. The mid-’80s was a turbulent time for Toto. Boby was fired, his replacement Fergie Frederiksen was also dismissed from the band so as you can imagine time was ticking and the stakes were high. Show had to go on, though. In 1986, Toto released Fahrenheit – the first album with new vocalist Joseph Williams and an album I really love (surprise, surprise). “Fahrenheit” couldn’t make a splash despite all the hopes and hard work put into it.

Two years later, in 1988, The Seventh One was out and the situation was even worse. It’s funny how my favorite Toto album is the lowest-charting album of their career (not that it matters). On a positive note, the album was very well-accepted by overseas audiences, especially in Europe and Asia. My love for vocalist Joseph Williams is satisfied on two* classic albums only. Unfortunately, after The Seventh One, he was also fired because of  troubles with his (gorgeous) voice. It took the band about 4 years to re-assemble but as we all know it, the music industry was very different in the ’90s so even the great Toto couldn’t stand a chance. 

*Just FYI, Joseph Williams did come back to Toto for Toto XIV, released in 2015.


The songs

I want to say it so I’m just going to say it – this album is so much better than their fourth one (in my opinion of course). The rhythmic, groovy, dance/pop sound of the record is unbeatable!

We gotta start with “Pamela” which remained the only top40 hit from the album. I don’t understand why American audiences were so unwelcoming to this single (and the album as a whole) but Asian and European fans embraced it so warmly? For one reason or another this mysterious, brilliantly performed track didn’t get the attention it deserved and is one more reason to back up a statement I’ve been saying for years – chart positions mean nothing!

“Straight for the Heart” is a cheerful, sunny, pop/rock track, capable of conquering absolutely anyone out there! For me that song was a turning point – a new singer was added to my “favorite vocalists of all time” list and the rest is just history. There are many songs that makes you wanna smile, dance and forget about it all, but this song right here does all these things on a whole new level. I just love the melody and lyrics so much!

“Stop Loving You” is a very interesting track because it features my beloved Jon Anderson (vocalist of YES) on backing vocals. Not only that, but the entire song is such a blissful experience for my ears. I was listening to it while writing this and unconsciously I started moving! Seriously! I just love songs that provoke a physical reaction in you. So much live and character, what a tune!

The gorgeous ballad “Anna” (the other lady on the album), the dynamic “Stay Away” and the reggae-inspired ,“These Chains” are some of my other personal favorites on the album. The style, the atmosphere – this has to be Toto’s most energetic and groovy release so far. I am insanely happy that Joseph is back with them and cannot wait to see what the future holds! For now, enjoy these…

“Straight for the Heart”

“Pamela”

“Stop Loving You”

“Anna”


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: https://www.pinterest.co.kr/pin/519251032017554090/
“Straight for the Heart” artwork, retrieved from http://www.45cat.com/record/3807945
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10 Rock Ballad Compilation Albums for All Ballad Lovers Out There

balladscollage

I love rock ballads…please don’t tell me you were actually surprised to read that….!?

I’ve told the story before but it all started with Def Leppard’s “Love Bites” and it developed into one huge obsession with power ballads and we got to the point where I can actually list rock ballad compilation albums without even blinking… It’s just my thing, I guess. I have accumulated a number of ballad compilation albums (digitally and physically) and I decided to share some of those releases which I find the most appealing and worthy of possessing. Some of the following I don’t actually own because they are merely impossible to find BUT it’s easy to re-create them if you already own the band’s discography. Ultimately, my list can also give you some ideas or make you check out some of those bands’ beautiful ballad songs (I recommend all).

I would like to finish by saying that it’s high time Def Leppard released a ballad album! (please please please)

Don’t forget to follow my blog and Twitter account! Cheers!


Gary Moore – Ballads & Blues 1982–1994

gary

I just had to kick things off with this absolute masterpiece and the album that introduced me to and made me a fan of Gary Moore. Where do I even begin? “Still Got the Blues (For You)”, “Always Gonna Love You”, “Story of the Blues”, “Midnight Blues” and so on – those are just some of the precious soul-crushing and world-spinning soulful romantic pieces you can find on that album. Every time I talk about compilation albums, I start the discussion with this one. On top of it all, Ballads & Blues 1982-1994 contains three unreleased ballads which are definitely a worthy addition to Gary’s classics.


Harem Scarem – Ballads

harem scarem

Maybe you didn’t expect to see this totally underrated band on my list but you know that I’m always rooting for the less-known but highly deserving rock bands out there. The Canadian hard rockers Harem Scarem won me with the astonishing ballad “Honestly” which of course is on this compilation album and of course became the reason why I put this album here…This Japanese release was out in 1999 and it also contained a couple of unreleased before surprises in it, in addition to the well-known classics.


Thunder – Ballads

thunder

This rock jewel is one of my favorite ballad compilations of all time and that’s mainly because it’s by Thunder – one of those hard rock bands which have a very very special place in my hard. The ballad compilation album was released in 2003 and nowadays it seems like it’s impossible to find it but I haven’t given up just yet. “Love Walked In”, “Until My Dying Day”, “A Better Man” and many more gems from Thunder’s classic and not-so-classic days of rock can be heard on that CD.


Whitesnake – Best Ballads…

The masters of hard rock, Whitesnake, lead by none other than the man whose voice can send you to heaven, David Coverdale released a couple of (unofficial) ballad compilation albums from Russia, Ukraine, UK and other European countries. Ultimately, timeless rock classics like “Don’t Fade Away”, “Is This Love”, “Love Ain’t No Stranger” and of course my favorite Whitesnake song, “Looking for Love” are on all of them. Don’t hesitate to get it if you come across it. So far, I’ve seen those releases only on Ebay, unfortunately.


Scorpions – Gold Ballads

gold ballads

“Gold Ballads” by Scorpions was released in 1984 in Europe only. The 5-song compilation features Scorpions’ best romantic tunes, including the timeless “Still Loving You” and “Holiday”. I should mention that in 2003, they released a new ballad CD, simply titled “Ballads” (only in Singapore, though as they have a massive fanbase there) which is another worthy piece.


Eric Clapton – Ballads

eric ballads

This compilation was released in 2003 in Japan only but that doesn’t mean we can’t get our hands on it (especially if you are a die-hard fan like me). The breathtaking compilation features some of Clapton’s most outstanding, tear-jerking ballads, including “Tears in Heaven”, “Miss You”, “Old Love” and “Layla” ( of course ). It’s one of my favorite ballad albums of all time and it’s such a pity that I don’t have it in my CD collection (yet).


Toto – Best Ballads

toto best balads

Toto are the kings of ballads and I’m thankful that we had this awesome release, where all of their beautiful, soul-touching masterpieces gathered together. The compilation features some of my favorite melodic rock ballads of all time, including “I’ll Be Over You”, “Mama”, “Rosanna” and the saddest song in history, “I Won’t Hold You Back”. “Best Ballads” was originally released in 1995 and it contains 17 songs. In 2003, they released “Love Songs” – yet another worthy record full of love and heartbreak.


Nazareth – the Ballad Album

nazareth

The 10 song CD titled “The Ballad Album” by Nazareth was released in 1985 only in Germany. This golden piece of music features some of Nazareth (and some of the greatest of all time) rock ballads, including “Love Hurts”, “Dream On”, “Where Are You Now”, “Games” and more. I love playing this compilation, it’s so atmospheric.


REO Speedwagon – The Ballads

reo

In 1999, REO Speedwagon released a ballad compilation album with a long list of their previous, well-known classics and a couple of surprises which unfortunately couldn’t make that big of a fuss back then. It was a ballad that got me into REO Speedwagon. Yes, of course I’m talking about that special song, “I Can’t Fight This Feeling” which is undoubtedly one of the most instantly recognizable melodic rock song out there and of course, the favorite ballad of all the softies out there. In addition to their beloved hit, “The Ballads” features “Keep On Loving You”, “Take It on The Run” and “Here with Me”.


Various – The Very Best of Power Rock Ballads [3CD Box Set]

ballads1

I’m finishing my list with a compilation treasure I found years ago, titled “The Very Best of Power Ballads”. There are hundreds of similar compilations, featuring identical, evergreen hits but If I have to recommend a worthy assortment of rock ballads, it has to be this one. “The Very Best of Power Ballads” was released in 2005 as a 3CD box set with a total of 50 mind-blowing songs.  You have all the classics – Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is”, Queen’s “We are the Champions”, Chicago’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”, etc. Not only that but you also get to enjoy Jefferson Airplane, Whitesnake, John Waite, Cher, REO Speedwagon, The Rolling Stones and many more.


References:
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.

The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[Playlist] 10 Fiery Tracks For Your Perfect New Year’s Eve

  🎉 Happy New 2017, everyone! 🎉

All ready for the party? Cause I totally am!

You can’t have a decent New Year’s Eve party without some solid rockers and sweet dance rhythms to brighten up the mood and give you that extra push. This year, once again, I was in charge of the playlist, which unsurprisingly is mainly composed of old-school rockers and dance classics from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Since I love my readers and fellow music enthusiasts so much, I decided to share some of the songs which will be played at my home tonight. Make sure you add them to your playlist, in case you haven’t done it yet. All of them can absolutely guarantee you some pretty good times! Listen, enjoy and dance! Greet the new year with a blast!


💃 Let’s Dance 💃

Dead or Alive – You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) (1984)

Wang Chung – Everybody Have Fun Tonight (1986)

George Michael – Faith (1987)

Earth, Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove (1981)

Kenny Loggins – Footloose (19884)


🤘 Let’s Rock 🤘

38 Special – Rockin’ Into the Night (1980)

Journey – “Don’t Stop Believin’” (1981)

Kansas – Fight Fire With Fire (1983)

TOTO – “Straight For The Heart” (1988)

Queen – “I Want to Break Free” (1984)

+

ABBA – Happy New Year (1980)


 

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[MIXTAPE] 10 Classic Rock Songs With A Girls’ Name In The Title

names

Crafting playlists is my favorite thing to do – I am sure you already know that if you follow my blog or follow me on Twitter. I try to collect classic rock songs that share similarities in terms of themes, lyrics, titles, instrumentation and many other characteristics.

The idea of coming up with a playlist, featuring classic rock songs with a girl’s name in the title came to me the other day as I was listening to the playlist I have on my phone (it’s on shuffle, of course). First it played Toto’s “Rosanna” and then it jumped to Boston’s “Amanda” – such an interesting coincidence. Then it hit me – there are so many beautiful rock tunes who share that exact same peculiarity! Most of all, it was one of the biggest trends of the ‘70s and the ‘80s. Nowadays we don’t really observe such fashion; however as you will see in the following mixtape, every major rock act had at least one or two songs that were titled after a girl’s name. From AC/DC to Ramones; from Derek and the Dominos to Boston – all major artists loved to sing about that special girl with the gorgeous name. One more thing, pay attention to the names – all vocally strong, ending in –a or –e, aimed at creating a lasting memorable impact.

There are plenty more to add, however I had to draw the line somewhere! Feel free to add your choices on the comment section or on Twitter! Cheers!


Boston – Amanda (1986)

Derek & The Dominos – Layla (1970)

Toto – Rosanna (1982)

Europe – Carrie (1986)

Steve Perry – Oh! Sherrie (1984)

The Police – Roxanne (1978)

Rod Stewart – Maggie May (1971)

Ike & Tina Turner – Proud Mary (1970)

The Rolling Stones – Angie (1973)

The Kinks – Lola (1970)

+ Bonus Tracks

AC/DC – Whole Lotta Rosie (1977)

 Ramones – Sheena Is a Punk Rocker (1977)


P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

10 Of The Most Underrated Classic Rock Albums Ever

 

This is going to be obviously VERY subjective, however I felt like it’s high time I did this. I’ve always been drawn to the “underdogs” when it comes to music, artists, albums and even songs. Somehow, in an album, I always seem to enjoy the less popular tracks, rather than go for the released singles and ultimate hits. Same goes with albums. When it comes to rock music from the 70s and 80s, there are these extraordinary blockbuster albums that we can’t but love – for instance AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon”, Def Leppard’s “Hysteria”, Van Halen’s 1984, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I adore those albums with all my heart and soul but when it comes to the individual bands, I always seem to go for the less popular ones, as I said. I love seeing the beauty in the less appreciated work of musicians and believe me there are SO many underrated and underappreciated albums when it comes to classic rock music. From not so well-received comebacks to the so-called “transitional” albums (albums on which bands haven’t fully developed their distinctive sound), there’s a list of albums which I think should’ve gotten more attention and love from the public, as well as from the critics. Let me know what do you think and which other album would you put there?


 

Survivor – Too Hot to Sleep

too-hot-to-sleep-survivor

Before “Too Hot to Sleep”, Survivor had major success with “Vital Signs” and “When Seconds Count” with Jimi Jamison as vocalist. And of course, before him coming to the band and before Survivor became the ultimate staple of AOR in the 80s, Dave Bickler was the voice of the smashing hit album”Eye of the Tiger” which made Survivor quite famous! But then, in 1988, after they released “Too Hot to Sleep” things changed drastically. The album was an absolute disappointment in terms of sales and chart positions and I really don’t understand why. On top of it all, after the album, the tension between Frankie and Jim – founding members of Survivor became too big to bear.
“Too Hot to Sleep” offers an excellent collection of rockers! Songs such as “Desperate Dreams”, “She’s a Star”, “Burning Bridges”, “Across the Miles”, “Here Comes Desire” ARE SO BEAUTIFUL! I wish people would appreciate the record as much as I do…


 

Judas Priest – Turbo

Judas Priest - Turbo

If we exclude the title track – “Turbo”, this album always remains in the shadows when we talk about Judas Priest. People were not happy when they went on and filled up their tunes with synthesizers, synthesizer guitars and electric drums. Judas were even called “sellouts” after the release of “Turbo” in 1986. I have always been defending this record because it’s so much more than just the regular “going mainstream” album. Judas Priest did a very decent job here – the songs sound good, well-polished, rhythmic and enjoyable. “Out in the Cold”, “Private Property” – all awesome rockers! “Turbo” sold relatively well, but people still didn’t receive it that well and a huge chunk of their fans were disappointed. I don’t get it but hey – we all have our differences.


 

Toto – Fahrenheit

toto-fahrenheit

The first album of Toto to feature Joseph Williams on lead vocals and somewhat always forgotten, “Fahrenheit” remains one of my favourite 80s albums of all time. It didn’t sell that well initially – it took the album almost 10 years to get to the “gold” stage. Really makes you wonder why, doesn’t it? With awesome tracks such as “Till the End”, “Can’t Stand it Any Longer” and “Without Your Love”, this album should’ve seen higher skies but it didn’t. It’s difficult to swallow up a new vocalist – I get and realize it, however if you give it a chance, you will see what I’m saying…


 

Van Halen – Fair Warning

van-halen-fair-warning

“Fair Warning” remains Van Halen’s slowest-selling album from the David Lee Roth era. Commercial disappointment aside – people seem to be happy with it and enjoy the album, however it’s still somehow forgotten when we think about Van Halen. Released in 1981, Rolling Stone Magazine says that the record has “the most significant musical development is the synthesizer introduced at the end of Fair Warning, which would be exploited to greater effect on later albums.” But still, when I talk about Van Halen with other people, we never really mention Fair Warning, which is such a shame because “So This is Love?” and “Unchained” are awesome singles. The album is raw, nasty and I should listen to it more often…


Eric Clapton – August

Eric Clapton - August

“August” might be Eric Clapton’s best-selling LPs up to date, however, critics don’t really like it and I just cannot understand why… The album definitely failed to generate a hit single or a track as memorable or essential as “Layla” or “Cocaine”, HOWEVER, to me tunes such as “Miss You”, “It’s In The Way That You Use It”, “Run” and of course the brilliant duet with Tina Turner, “Tearing Us Apart”, will forever remain in my heart.


Whitesnake – Restless Heart

front

Very unpopular opinion right here, however that’s just me. This record was supposed to be a David Coverdale solo album but it ended up being released under the “David Coverdale & Whitesnake” moniker. Facts aside, it’s an awesome album and I truly enjoy it. Critics say that David failed (just like many 80s glam/pop/hard rock bands) to do the “modern-day makeover” and showcased boring and monotonous tunes with no development whatsoever. I completely disagree and will always defend the beauty of this record. Doesn’t matter if it was the end of the 90s and people were still under that grunge influence – the album was and still is precious! “Don’t Fade Away” is actually my favorite David Coverdale/Whitesnake track and will always be. I also adore “You’re So Fine” and the bluesy “Stay With Me”.


 

Pink Floyd – Obscured by Clouds

pink-floyd-obscured-by-clouds

“Obscured by Clouds” has to be the most overlooked album from the classic days of Pink Floyd. A year after its release “The Dark Side of The Moon” kicked in and people just forgot about it, I guess. The album was transitional, signalling the future directions and ambitions of the band. Many fans don’t really consider it as a genuine Pink Floyd album because it actually is a compilation of songs for the French movie La Vallée (The Valley) by Barbet Schroeder. Soundtrack or not, the music on this album is brilliant (or at least to me). No actual standout songs from the album, but the flow is good and “Obscured by Clouds” is one of their strongest instrumentals so far!


 

Genesis – Duke

duke-genesis

I’m putting Genesis’ “Duke” on the list because it was heavily and UNJUSTLY criticized for being too “commercial” and “radio-friendly”. It was the second album of Genesis as a trio and even though it was their first album to reach the number 1 position, many people were disappointed with their “descent”. Personally, I think it’s very melodic, enjoyable and the lyrics (the thing that always gets me) are brilliant. Another “transitional” album that’s worthy of your time!


 

Aerosmith – Done With Mirrors

This album is such a cool mess! Understandably underrated, if I may say, mostly due to some holes in the production. However, still I believe it has some quite pleasant rockers. Fans have contradicting points of view when it comes to this record – some say it’s too “lame”, others love it – It’s up to you, at the end of the day but still, if you like raw, unpolished sound, this is the album for you. The album couldn’t bring them back to the spotlight, as it took a couple of more years till they released “Permanent Vacation” but remained as an example how a bad production and guidance can cost you a lot.

aerosmith-done-with-mirrors


Asia – Alpha

asia-alpha

The self-titled debut album of ASIA was phenomenal – no second opinion about it. So, naturally, people had very high expectations about the follow-up album, “Alpha”. It did sell well, however according to fans and critics, it couldn’t match the influence and force of the previous album. Very familiar story that happened with many bands and artists, actually. Nevertheless, I must say “Alpha” has a lot to offer too. “Don’t Cry” is a beautiful rocker that got them a top10 spot. “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” is a touching ballad, marking another high point of the album. Check it out!


And many many more….

 


P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
Cheers~
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.

 

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] Toto IV

Toto IV Album Cover


 

IV

Released: April 8, 1982
Length: 41:59

Label: Columbia
Singles: “Rosanna”, “Make Believe”, “Africa”, “I Won’t Hold You Back”
Certified: 3xPlatinum (RIAA)

~

Tracklist:

“Rosanna”
“Make Believe”
“I Won’t Hold You Back”
“Good For You”
“It’s a Feeling”
“Afraid of Love”
“We Made It”
“Waiting For Your Love”
“Africa”

buy-from-amazon


 

OVERVIEW:

With the release of Toto IV on April 8, 1982, the band quickly turned their occasional radio presence into a total domination of the waves. Unfortunately, Toto’s previous efforts couldn’t bring them to the spotlight, despite the amount of hard work and professionalism they invested. Toto IV was truly their last chance of hopping on the train and they couldn’t have done it better. Toto rose to the challenge and with an immense doze of enthusiasm and impeccable songwriting craft, they produced their most successful and visionary album.

After just one listen of the album, you can easily feel the unique aura and distinguishable details of the record. Toto worked harder on refining the melodies and harmonies – the tempo is slowed down, matching the quite bouncy beats of the songs. Guitars, trumpets, saxophones and trombones are having the most ear-pleasing dance. The lyrics are quite simple and innocent, dedicated to the themes of love, heartbreak and hope. The vocals of Bobby Kimball are much improved and strengthened, backed up by having other group members singing. Timothy B. Schmit was also on board as backing vocals on “I Won’t Hold You Back”, “Good For You”, and “Africa”.

Undoubtedly, “Rosanna” and “Africa” are the absolute career-peak compositions of David Paich and the ultimate hit singles of Toto IV. Not to mention that those two songs are also some of the most notable symbols of the 80s pop/rock scene. The golden single “Rosanna” impresses with its dreamy lyrics and playful beats. “Africa” on the other hand, demonstrates a fantastic scope of elements, including refined solo keyboards from Steve Porcaro, graceful yet high-reaching vocals of Bobby Kimball and prominent bass rhythms by David Hungate who is dearly missed on all the following Toto albums. “I Won’t Hold You Back” is yet another beautiful soft rock knockout, full of intense emotions and feelings. I often referred to it as one of the saddest songs ever composed. “Make Believe” is surprisingly uplifting and features excellent saxophone blends.

Toto IV, however, is so much more than “Rosanna” and “Africa”. The record is extremely polished, professional-sounding and full of timeless classics. Furthermore, it’s also both the group’s triumphant recovery and their absolute peak. The industry and the public acknowledged the brilliance of this album with 5 Grammy Awards, including Best Album and Record of the Year (Rosanna). Nothing more to say – a true iconic record you NEED to have!

Cheers.

 

Africa

Rosanna

I Won’t Hold Back

Make Believe

 

 


References:
Toto IV” official Wikipedia webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toto_IV
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
Cheers~

[ Playlist ] Weekly MIXTAPE

Mixtape-Mondays-LargeUp.png-

 

Happy New week!

Now let’s listen to some rock ‘n’ roll and try to forget that it’s Monday and we have to go to work…
This week, I have collected some memorable classic rock tunes, to help you kick things off with the proper mood and in proper spirits! I have gathered 10 favorite rock songs from my music library and came up with this lovely “mixtape” which is my present for you… I hope you get reminded of some awesome tracks and get the much needed energy boost!

Let’s rock…

Playlist:

Def Leppard – Let’s Get Rocked ( 1992 )
Guns N’ Roses – You’re Crazy ( 1987 )
Led Zeppelin – Kashmir ( 1975 )
Pink Floyd – Have a Cigar ( 1975 )
Whitesnake – Love Ain’t No Stranger ( 1984 )
Rolling Stones – Start Me Up ( 1981 )
George Harrison – Devil’s Radio ( 1987 )
Icehouse – Electric Blue ( 1987 )
Toto – Can’t Stand It Any Longer ( 1986 )
Alannah Myles – Black Velvet ( 1989 )


Def Leppard – Let’s Get Rocked ( 1992 )


Guns N’ Roses – You’re Crazy ( 1987 )


Led Zeppelin – Kashmir ( 1975 )


Pink Floyd – Have a Cigar ( 1975 )


Whitesnake – Love Ain’t No Stranger ( 1984 )


Rolling Stones – Start Me Up ( 1981 )


George Harrison – Devil’s Radio ( 1987 )


Icehouse – Electric Blue ( 1987 )


Toto – Can’t Stand It Any Longer ( 1986 )


Alannah Myles – Black Velvet ( 1989 )


 

The Story of Toto’s “Hold the Line”

Toto - Hold the Line1Each and every song has a specific background story and is surrounded by numerous interesting facts and details that led to its existence. I don’t know about you guys, but one of my favorite past time activities is digging out information and finding out more about my favorite songs. That’s why these types of publications – “the story of…” are so frequent on my blog. I mean, if a particular song means a lot to you and you love it with all your heart and soul, you should at least know some basic data about it – who wrote it, when was it released or does it have a special hidden meaning…? I’m not sure how many of you guys I’m sharing favorite songs with, however I do try to choose ultimate rock classics, known by everyone. The goal of such publications is to not only learn a little bit more about some of rock music’s greatest songs but to also remind ourselves of a forgotten song – you’d be surprised to know that for many people it may have been ages since they last played Toto, for instance…Also, I love interpreting the meaning behind the lyrics…

Anyhow, for today I decided to focus on another fantastic rock song from the late 70s by the American rock band Toto. Since the moment they released their debut album, Toto have been enjoying enormous success within the mainstream audience, especially from the 70s till the 80s. To date, they have sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and are proud owners of numerous awards, including Grammys. Throughout the years, the band had numerous line-up changes but they still warm up our hearts with awesome songs such as “Hold the Line”, “Rosanna” and “Africa”. Among all songs from their lengthy career and huge catalog, I have to say that “Hold the Line” is indeed my favorite song of theirs. In addition to the brilliant lyrics, I have to say the guitar backing is beyond remarkable and influential. The piano intro, the drums and the guitar are just too sweet and striking…

 

Toto2“Hold the Line” was released back in 1978 as the band’s first single EVER and also featured in their debut self-titled album. Not many artists had the opportunity to leave such an outstanding first impression the moment they stepped into the cutthroat world of music industry. However, Toto did it with this song – it immediately reached top positions in the USA, Swedish, South African, Canadian and Australian charts. It’s also RIAA certified as “GOLD”.
The song was written by the keyboardist of the band – David Paich and the lead vocals are performed by the incredibly talented Bobby Kimball. I am absolutely inlove with his voice…and how can I not be – his timbre penetrates your soul and mind without any effort or whatsoever.

The song features a single-note piano percussion, which was a quite popular technique at that time. In addition, in my opinion, the song’s biggest asset would be the elegant but vigorous “creamy” guitar riff. The song simply proved that six talented session musicians, who used to back up other famous artists can actually make magic on their own from the first try!

 

“It started out with the piano riff that is in the intro. I started playing this riff and I just couldn’t stop playing it. I played it for days, and I started singing, “Hold the line, love isn’t always on time.” It was a phrase that just came into my head. . . . it was a blessing. (The words) came to me in the night, and then I went to the verse. I wrote it in 2 hours. Sometimes songs come quickly like that, and sometimes I spend 2 years trying to finish a song,” said David Paich about the writing of the song.

 

“Hold the Line’ was a perfect example of what people will describe as your heavy metal chord guitar licks, your great triplet A-notes on the piano, your ‘Sly’-hot-fun-in-the-summertime groove, all mishmashed together with a boy from New Orleans singing… and it really crossed over a lot of lines,” said Jeff Porcaro, the band’s drummer.

 

TOTO3Now, I wish to say a few words about the lyrics of the song, which are very metaphorical but quite easy to construe and relate with. Basically, the song is about love and relationships – nothing new, right? The phrase “hold the line” is an expression we use when we want someone to remain at their current position and simply don’t go anywhere. In the context of the song – the man tells his girl to be patient and stay with their relationship. Love, just like many things in this world is sometimes all about the perfect timing – for some people love might not come instantly or they might need some time to truly devote themselves to another person and truly fall inlove with him/her. Despite all that, love will come. I believe that the tone of the song is quite inspirational and motivational. Love will show its face when the time is right – simple as that! Till that time comes, we need to be willing to endure, stay calm and don’t settle for something that’s not real.

 

Most of this song’s lyrics start with the words, “It’s not.” According to David Paich, once he came up with the title, he started writing lines about what love isn’t: “It’s not in the way you say you’re mine,” “It’s not in the way you say you care.”
Through process of elimination, he’s trying to figure out what love is.


(extract retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/)

 

It’s essential to know that Toto was one of the first rock musicians to release a music video at that time. As we all know, MTV hit the air in 1981 so for them to record a MV years before its launch was quite challenging and even risky.
Basically, it’s one of those trendy obligatory performance music videos which each and every band of that time used to film. The budget was obviously quite low, however I do enjoy their fashion – especially the Steve Lukather’s suspenders and wicked hairstyles.
Check out the original music video:

 

 LYRICS:

 

“Hold The Line”

It’s not in the way that you hold me
It’s not in the way you say you care
It’s not in the way you’ve been treating my friends
It’s not in the way that you’ll stay till the end
It’s not in the way you look or the things that you say that you do Hold the line
Love isn’t always on time It’s not in the words that you told me
It’s not in the way you say you’re mine
It’s not in the way that you came back to me
It’s not in the way that your love set me free
It’s not in the way you look or the things that you say that you do Hold the line
Love isn’t always on time It’s not in the words that you told me
It’s not in the way you say you’re mine
It’s not in the way that you came back to me
It’s not in the way that your love set me free
It’s not in the way you look or the things that you say that you do

Hold the line
Love isn’t always on time

It’s not in the way that you hold me
It’s not in the way that you make me feel
You see
It’s all about the way you do the things you do
The way you do it
You’ve got to hold it
Hold it

Hold the line
Love isn’t always on time

~~~

 

 

Well, this is it for now – I hope you guys got reminded of or learned something new and interesting about this brilliant classic rock song. Despite being released almost 40 years ago, it will forever remain one of my personal favorites. I don’t know about you guys, but I truly consider this song to be one of the earliest signs of the upcoming change in mainstream rock music. The 80s was even sweeter for Toto. Now it’s the time to check your old CD/Vinyl or Cassette collection or go through your music library – Toto will hold the line for you…

Cheers.


 

 References:
Toto Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/toto/holdtheline.html
TOTO – “Hold the Line”, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=12396
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the credits and rights go to the owners and/or publishers.