For Toto’s Steve Lukather, playing with yet another Beatle hero is simply ‘surreal’

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Photo by Ash Newell

Steve Lukather often talks about the importance of the Beatles in general, and specifically the first solo he heard by George Harrison — on “I Saw Her Standing There” — as the wellspring moment for his own lengthy career in music.

This summer will find the multiple Grammy-winning Toto cofounder and sessions guitar ace playing alongside his third Beatle, as Lukather joins Ringo Starr on the latest edition of his All-Starr Band on tour. And he’s still taking it all in.

“The Beatles were my arm-twist to life,” Lukather told, “so to come full circle like this is surreal. When I was a kid, thinking of just being near a Beatle was an unattainable dream.”

Lukather played the guitar solo and sang back up with Paul McCartney on a reworking of the Wings hit “Silly Love Songs,” for McCartney’s 1984’s release Give My Regards to Broadstreet, and became friends with Harrison late in the former Beatle’s life.

Starr’s newest edition of the All Starr Band will also include Todd Rundgren, Santana/Journey cofounder Gregg Rolie and Richard Page of Mr. Mister. They’re set to tour through June and July.

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Steve Lukather and Toto. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: STEVE LUKATHER OF TOTO: We asked Lukather to dig into his role in a staggering number of hit projects — from Boz Scaggs and Olivia Newton-John to Larry Carlton and Michael Jackson. But you don’t talk to the legendary guitarist without talking about Toto. So, we also found out more during the latest SER Sitdown on the complicated history of the band’s lead singers, and what the future holds for Toto after the departure of two Porcaro brothers. Oh, and why Lukather still keeps a copy of Meet the Beatles in heavy rotation, even today.

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: TOTO: Critics hung soft rock around their necks after the success of tunes like “I Won’t Hold You Back,” “99” and “I’ll Be Over You.” But Toto was never so easily identifiable. A closer listen uncovers a musical pallette that brings in heavier guitar sounds, funk, soul, R&B, jazz, even prog rock. Top 5 hits like “Hold the Line,” “Rosanna,” and “Africa,” each as listenable as they can be, scarcely hint at that kind of complexity. Can this legacy be saved? That’s where we come in.

STEVE LUKATHER – ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL (2010): With the end of Toto as a recording entity, Luke’s records are the closest thing to a continuation of that group’s discography. All’s Well That Ends Well seems to accept that mantle. Yes, it rocks a little bit harder in spots (“Can’t Look Back,” “Flash In The Pan”), but the slick mix of rock, prog, R&B and fusion shoots for the same over-40 demographic, ignoring any developments in popular music since Toto’s 1980s heyday and instead refining and updating the old formula. His voice is still in fine form and in case you wondering, so are his guitar chops. It’s real easy to make a call on this record: If you liked Toto, you’ll like All’s Well That Ends Well.

ONE TRACK MIND: STEVE LUKATHER ON “I WON’T HOLD YOU BACK,” “99,” “I’ll BE OVER YOU,” AND OTHERS: Lukather provides insight into “I Won’t Hold You Back” and “I’ll Be Over You,” both signature ballads for Toto, and refutes the idea that he hates another of them — “99.” He also talks about how, despite the fact that his band never got the critical praise it deserved, the legendary Miles Davis tried to lure the guitarist away from Toto.

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