Toto, “Don’t Chain My Heart” from Kingdom of Desire (1992): Toto Tuesdays

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While not an original member, Mike Porcaro was a Toto mainstay as far back as 1980. He originally served their touring bass player before becoming a full-fledged member when David Hungate departed after the recording of 1982’s Toto IV.

Initially, Mike’s contributions were subtle. Perhaps it was the tight chemistry he had with his big brother Jeff on drums. The two of them played so tightly, it was sometimes difficult to tell where one ended and the other began.

That started to change with “Can You Hear What I’m Saying” from Past to Present. Suddenly, Mike Porcaro’s bass playing was front and center and it was solid, it was tight and it added a dimension to Toto’s sound that they may not have even realized was missing until they heard it.

Kingdom of Desire went further to correct the oversight. No longer was Mike’s bass playing getting buried in the mix, as on previous albums. Perhaps on no song was that more evident than on “Don’t Chain My Heart.” And once again, Jeff and Mike Porcaro are playing so tightly the familial bond is undeniable.

The song is further buoyed by Steve Lukather’s rhythm guitar work and somewhat-gravelly vocals that fit the song perfectly. While Toto sounded great as a quintet or sextet (with Bobby Kimball, Fergie Frederiksen, or Joe Williams and Steve Porcaro) on prior albums, there was a certain transcendent chemistry with this stripped-down quartet version on Kingdom of Desire. The one thing that shines through on this album in general, and on “Don’t Chain My Heart” in particular, is a joy in performing together. The band is having fun. They’re playing as one unit. All of the songs on the album are attributed to Toto as a whole, or the band as a whole with one or two outside writers. None of the members took individual credit for their songwriting or their lyrics.

While Kingdom of Desire may not be as accessible as much of Toto’s more pop-friendly catalog, songs like “Don’t Chain My Heart” keep people coming back for more.


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

Perplexio

Perplexio

Perplexio also maintains a stand-alone blog called The Review Revue, where he explores music, movies and books. He spearheaded 'Saturdays in the Park,' our weekly multi-writer, song-by-song series focused on the music of Chicago. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelse reviews.com.
Perplexio
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