Toto, “Somewhere Tonight” from Fahrenheit (1986): Toto Tuesdays

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Mike Porcaro on bass guitar. It sounds simple enough but doesn’t give the credit which is due to Porcaro for his many contributions to Toto.

Mike Porcaro was put in what many believed was his rightful place as Toto’s bassist when founding member David Hungate left the band after the recording of the multi-Grammy winning Toto IV. Hungate, an accomplished studio vet, initially found his was to Toto via his friendships with drummer Jeff Porcaro and keyboardist David Paich. Also, Columbia Records was eager to capture the team and the sound from the Boz Scaggs’ Silk Degrees album which Porcaro, Paich and Hungate played such a huge part of.

After David Hungate’ s exit, Toto carried on with Isolation, a much harder-edged album which gave Mike Porcaro little opportunity to put his own stamp on the music. The Fahrenheit album remedied this oversight as Porcaro jumps out of the speakers on the opening track “’Till The End,” and keeps the fire burning throughout the album.

“Somewhere Tonight,” a deep cut composed by Steve Lukather, David Paich and Jeff Porcaro, shows the considerable range and talent of Mike Porcaro only hinted on the Isolation album. The song kicks off with an elegant piano, synthesizer and vibraphone passage by David Paich, Steve Porcaro and Joe Porcaro respectively. Just a few seconds into the song, there are hints of reggae, jazz and R&B coming from Jeff Porcaro’s rim shot, the congas of Lenny Castro and the bongos of Paulinho da Costa.

Steve Porcaro’s synthesizers sound like a mixture of flutes and clarinets and Steve Lukather’s guitar is the hallmark of restrained elegance. Singer Joseph Williams makes “Somewhere Tonight” his own, working the lower part of his vocal range with both power and precision. Mike Porcaro’s walking bass keeps things moving along. Porcaro’s jazz-infused walk is a sublime and the interaction with his brother Jeff is worth the price of admission alone.

Lyrically, the story of lost love and angst is familiar and well told, yet Toto’s excellent production and arranging make this one of their most enduring deep cuts.

Toto Tuesdays is a song-by-song feature that explores the rich musical history of Toto. The group returned with ‘Toto XIV’ in 2015, their first album in nearly a decade.

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