Toto, “Wings of Time,” from Kingdom of Desire (1992): Toto Tuesdays

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“Wings of Time,” the sixth track from 1992’s Kingdom of Desire, holds an esteemed place in Toto’s repertoire. To grasp the reverence it inspires among fans – and, indeed, the band – one needs to understand the context surrounding the song’s creation.

To be clear, Kingdom of Desire was a milestone recording for Toto: It’s their first album in which writing credits are attributed to the band collectively, their first album in which Steve Lukather handles lead vocal duties and their first album on a new label, Relativity. It is also, unfortunately, the last Toto album to feature founding member and drummer Jeff Porcaro, before his untimely death in August 1992.

“Wings of Time” is “bittersweet,” Lukather told Something Else! in a previous talk. “It’s one of my favorites, because it was just the four of us. We were sort of lost [after the brief tenure of 1990-era frontman Jean-Michel Byron]. I wanted to be in a rock band again. Jeff and I talked extensively about this. And we wrote the whole album as a band in the rehearsal room. So that was the first, and the last time, that ever really happened. It was Jeff’s last record, so it will always have a special place in my heart, as well. Those are hard memories, sometimes. But I love those songs — and that song in particular.”

Opening with a steady, pulsing groove from Jeff on drums and Mike Porcaro on bass, this track is backed by ethereal synth pads from David Paich and loose distorted blues tones from Steve Lukather. It is an atmospheric recording, with clear vocals and backing harmonies, courtesy of Richard Page of Mr. Mister fame. (Page was once considered as a potential lead singer for Toto.) If it sounds live to you, that’s because it was captured that way. “The track was cut live up at Skywalker ranch, as they all were, and we have a blast making it,” Lukather told me, in an exclusive new interview. “Greg Ladanyi [who earlier collaborated on Toto IV] was our engineer, and the sounds were killer and the hang was awesome. Too much fun!”

Whilst the recording helps build an impressive soundstage (for another huge-sounding recording from Skywalker Ranch, listen to Linda Ronstadt’s Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind), it is the lyrics and Luke’s vocal performance that give this track its profound sense and uncanny prescience.

“Jeff wrote the lyric,” Lukather said in the earlier interview, “and it’s kind of eerie, almost prophetic – though we didn’t realize that at the time.”

My faithful companion, I’ve lost my way once again
A prisoner of darkness, I let you down my friend

A heart left abandoned takes so long to heal its wounds
Your touch not forgotten, the end of the dream
It comes too soon, in this lonely room
Till I leave this world, always know that

I will surrender my heart to the sky
Oh our love doesn’t end here, it lives forever on the wings of time

The road that I travel, don’t know which way I should turn
Till I find the answer, know that the fire within me will always burn

Angel of mercy, please, why so much pain?
I cry for forgiveness, I’m the destitute man
Who still remains, it’s so hard to explain
Till I leave this world, always know that

I will surrender my heart to the sky
Oh our love doesn’t end here, it lives forever on the wings of time

Sometimes I feel just like crying
I can’t turn my back, all these years I’ve been trying
A vision of you keeps reappearing to me
You can’t blame yourself, just reach out your hand and believe

We sail in dark waters, Lord give me some peace of mind
Temptation before me, ahead lies the tower of truth that I must find
To you I will climb
Till I leave this cruel world far behind, always know that

I will surrender my heart to the sky
Oh our love doesn’t end here, it lives forever on the wings of time

I will surrender my heart to the sky
Oh our love doesn’t end here, it lives forever on the wings of time

“Wings of Time” is now a bittersweet staple of the Toto live set, a tribute to Jeff Porcaro and, more recently, his brother Mike who passed from ALS in 2015.

“One must look at the spiritual side of things,” Lukather tells me. “We are not here for a long time. [Jeff] was, sadly, the first to remind us of this fact. Yet, he and his brother Mike – also a co-writer on this piece – remain in our hearts every note, every night as long as we still do this and keep their music alive. I miss them so much.”

Toto Jeff Porcaro


Toto Tuesdays is a song-by-song feature that explores the band’s rich musical history. They returned with three new songs on 2018’s ’40 Trips Around the Sun.’

Anthony Sonego

Anthony Sonego

Anthony Sonego is a long-time Toto fan (and synth-nerd) from Down Under. It’s tragic, but if you ask him about achieving blip or the accumulation of subtleties, he can help you program it. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Anthony Sonego
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