Tuesday, May 1. 2007
Below is a list of each Toto video made, and a small review of each video adapted from the now-defunct =>"Toto Legend:"
- Hold the Line (1978,"Toto")
- Georgy Porgy (1978, "Toto")
- I”ll Supply the Love (1978, "Toto")
These first videos for Toto were made for their first album. As videos were an emerging marketing tool in the pre-MTV era, they seem very basic to us today. The band is filmed performing their songs in the studio.
- => Hydra (1979, "Hydra")
- St. George and the Dragon (1979, "Hydra")
- => 99 (1979, "Hydra")
- All Us Boys (1979, "Hydra")
As =>"Hydra" was a concept album, with reflections to the Middle Ages in “Hydra” and “St. George and the Dragon”, the videos are more conceptual as well. For the title cut “Hydra,” the band was filmed in the underground. Steve Porcaro was filmed as he was chased around the tunnels, trying to rescue a lady in distress.
“St. George and the Dragon” was more performance-oriented in nature, still continued in the Middle Ages vein in lyric content, and features more flamboyant customizing of the band members - for the most part.
“All Us Boys” was a sheer romp, in line with the buoyant sass of the lyrics. Shots alternate between an adult Toto jamming away, and a troupe of young lads (younger versions of the band members) having every bit as much fun. The two sextets gather in football-type huddles, the “big boys” under-handling the ball to the wee ones. Toward the end of the clip, however, it gets hard to tell just which group is having more fun and frolicking with more abandon.
- Goodbye Elenore (1980, "Turn Back")
- Live For Today (1980, "Turn Back")
Both these were “live” performance clips, the band shown in a circle on a large soundstage. The mix was a live on indeed! And the energy level was incredible.
“Live For Today” was done pretty ‘straight ahead” with a minimum of visual tampering. The focus was, as well it should have been, on the vocal and guitar talents of composer Steve Lukather. Conversely, although “Goodbye Elenore” was also a live-mix, it featured some delightful double- and triple-montage work, a trio of vocalists superimposed at the side of the screen Bobby Kimball singing, a holographically faint image of Jeff, cross-legged, playing tambourine at the edge of the drum podium, where the “real” Jeff was wailing away on drum kit. One, then two, then three images of Steve Porcaro, then David Paich were seen.
- => Rosanna (1982, "Toto IV")
No expenses were spared, some of the finest dancers in town were hired for the shoot, including lead danceuse and former Tube-ette => Cynthia Rhodes, who later would gain fame in “Stayin’ Alive” and “Flashdance.” It was taped on a "West side story" styled set, the guys clad in a harmless street-gang fashion. It was upbeat even when wistful, and was recognized widely by the video community and the now full-fledged MTV for its quality.
- => Africa (1982, "Toto IV")
More moody, obscure and emotional, like the song it portrayed, was the conceptual video for "Africa". The band played modified instruments on a stage resembling a large book. David Paich, meanwhile, was shown scouring an African library for the book that would match the torn page in his hand. Just as he makes his discovery, a shadowy warrior outside hurls an ancient spear through the window, knocking a hurricane lamp onto the pile of books, which burst into flame, engulfing the one so hard-sought. The answer is simultaneously found and lost. Is David’s expression at the end one of anguish, or confusion... or hope? Let the viewer decide.
- Waiting For Your Love (1982, "Toto IV")
Unfortunately, after two such powerful videos, "Waiting For Your Love" seemed almost like an afterthought. The song received airplay mainly on R&B stations, and the video also demonstrated limited MTV appeal. The reason? What a pair of acts it had to follow. The band was shown playing in a night-club setting, while various dancers (enlisted via a general call on MTV), made eye contact, popped, broke, gyrated, writhed and in some instances put forth some excellent samples of dancing. Toto did play the song live on the set, but the final result shows them lip-syncing to the album track.
But by this time, video has spawned the likes of "Billie Jean", "I Love LA" (which features Luke, David and -in a flash- Jeff, by the way), and the ambitious "Individual Choice", and sadly, "Waiting For Your Love" went largely overlooked.
- Stranger In Town (1984, "Isolation")
If the mystery of what happened to "Isolation" as an album is discovered, it may help to explain why these four fine videos from the album did not receive more play on MTV. In fact, they received extremely little, despite Steve Barron’s MTV nomination for Best Director for the Stranger In Town” video.
“Stranger in Town", the video like the song, was influenced heavily by the film “Whistle Down the Wind,” starring Hayley Mills, the story of an escaped convict who seeks sanctuary in the country, and encounters a group of children who mistake him for the returned Jesus. The gendarmes, though, catch up to the escapee and cart him off again. The fugitive in ‘Stranger in Town", was portrayed by => Brad Dourif (known from =>“Dune”). The band members were seen only as faint superimpositions while the fugitive hid in a tunnel, and Fergie flamboyantly portrayed his “revived” first victim. The video was filmed in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.
The video was nominated for an MTV video award in 1985.
- Holyanna (1984, "Isolation")
This video deserved a lot more attention than it got. The storyline was of a Catholic high school girl gone naughty, but was done tastefully and with a lot of heart. The band was shown in alternating shots with the impish protagonista, who feigned a street-wise attitude until she found that the street was not the post-sundown utopia she had wanted to believe in. There are a few questions in this one, a few eye-brow raisers - but all in all it’s a conceptual video Toto can be proud of. According to Steve Porcaro, the performance scenes were filmed in an old L.A. Nightclub called the Continental Club.
- Angel Don’t Cry (1984, "Isolation")
- How Does It Feel (1984, "Isolation")
Both "Angel Don’t Cry" and "How Does It Feel" are performance videos, showing Toto’s “new look” to better effect. Despite the strength of the music, the energy and the videos, they received almost no airplay.
"How Does It Feel" has a small subplot featuring a couple arguing and enduring the pain love can bring.
- Till the End (1986, "Fahrenheit")
We are introduced to the new singer, Joseph Williams, who seemed to possess a natural ability to "act" for the camera. Here, we find Toto performing in matador-style outfits while three female dancers move seductively to the music. The impressive choreography and lead dancing was done by => Paula Abdul, before her first hit record. By the way, the video was directed by none other than Jeff Porcaro.
- =>"I”ll Be Over You" (1986, "Fahrenheit")
Small video fact: the video was shot on a downtown LA office building at 6th and Spring Streets, where Toto climbed an exterior fire escape to give a rooftop performance of the song.
At the beginning of the video, the band is shown cautiously climbing the fire escape of an old building in downtown Los Angeles. They emerge from a rooftop window and begin playing the song on top of the building into the dark of the night, and end up being chased from their instruments by a rainstorm. The video features => Michael McDonald singing background vocals, as he did on the record.
The building on the “Fahrenheit” cover is a real building in LA, on trendy Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood).
- Without Your Love (1986, "Fahrenheit")
This video features Lukather walking through a large house with his guitar, singing lead. The other members perform as well, and Luke joins them for his closing solo. The video's director was Tommy Chong (of the comedy team Cheech and Chong), who gave the clip the 'home movie'-type of feel. For the record, the house used was not Lukather's, nor was the woman his ex-wife Marie.
Rumor has it the video for this song was shot inside David Paich' house.
Many people may not have noticed, but at the close of the song, many of the band members are laughing while they are playing. Behind the scenes, Lukather hade made a crack about the director's wife, and the band could not stop laughing for the rest of the video shoot.
- => Pamela (1988, =>“The Seventh One”)*
This marked the first video that Steve Porcaro was not in, since he officially left the group after the => Fahrenheit tour. "Pamela" was directed by Nigel Dick, who did several of the Toto videos with a similar gritty, TV-commercial style. The use of attractive models, in scenes that alternate with those of the band performing, make this a rather appealing video to watch.
- Stop Loving You (1988, =>“The Seventh One”)
This is essentially a sequel to the "Pamela" video, with one of models being used as the object of Joseph’s affection - or rather obsession, as we see him in a room surrounded with photos of her. He seems rather tormented over her and, after throwing furniture around and smashing things up a bit, he leaves the apartment just before the phone rings. We assume the voice on his answering machine is the woman in the photos... or is it ?
- Straight For the Heart (1988, =>“The Seventh One”)
Another performance video with a subplot. This time we see a guy and (literally) the girl next door gain an interest in each other and have a romantic “fling” in the country. Of course, the scenes alternate between shots of the band playing as things between the couple get rather "steamy.”
- Out of Love (1990, "Past to Present")
This video takes place in a bar, showing the band playing to a nearly empty room. We see an old couple sitting at the bar, enjoying each other’s company and feeling very much in love. We also see a young woman who is feeling the pain of a lost love. The camera continuously scans from left to right throughout the video, passing the band, the old couple, and the young woman in a rotating fashion.
- Can You Hear What I’m Saying (1990, "Past to Present") A clearly political message comes from this song and video. The band is playing on a set vividly decorated with international flags. A strong wind blows against them. Could this symbolize music and unity trying to overcome the violence and politics of this world? Let the viewer decide. If you look carefully, you can see percussionist Chris Trujillo in his first professional gig with Toto.
- Don’t Chain My Heart (1992, "Kingdom of Desire")
Unfortunately, Jeff Porcaro passed away about one week before this video was to be filmed. After the decision was made to continue with their tour plans, the band did a video as well. In a creative mix of concert footage and scenes later shot on a soundstage, "Don't Chain My Heart" was released shortly before the tour. The concert filming was done in 1991, during Toto’s European festival tour, and Jeff’s drum beats are cleverly synchronised with the ons in the song. The soundstage portion of the video features Lukather on vocals, along with the rest of the band and background singers. These combined elements make for a very tasteful, entertaining. There seems to be another version of this video, apparently with more shots of Jeff, as somewhat of a “tribute”. It shows concert footage throughout the entire video, without the color studio performance.
- Only You (1992, "Kingdom of Desire")
This was filmed in one day, somewhere one the coast of France during the Kingdom of Desire tour. Lukather is seen in a castle, playing an acoustic guitar, and surrounded by candles. It shows him walking around outside on the balcony of the castle, his arms around a beautiful young woman. Luke told us that it was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit when they shot the video (Check out the thin dress the woman is wearing!). "Both of us were freezing", Lukather remembers. He cringes when he thinks about it. "The video was shot by this new director and I didn”t like it very much."
- Will Remember (1995, Tambu")
This stylishly-filmed clip has a somber quality about it, and seems to take place in the future. The story focuses on a service that specializes in “virtual reality”-type fantasies, catering to upper class men and women who benefit from other peoples” memories. Actor (and close friend of the band) => Miguel Ferrer portrays a down-and-out man who, in order to make ends meet, sells his memories of a past love. Another well-known actor, Edward James Olmos, makes a brief cameo appearance as well. The storyline alternates with shots of the band performing the song.
- Slipped Away (1995, "Tambu")
- The Turning Point (1996, "Tambu")
- Melanie (1999, "Mindfields")
- Cruel (1999, "Mindfields")
The videos marked with an * can be found on the video "Past to Present 1977-1990.
The videos for “Melanie” and “Cruel” were included on the bonus disc of "Livefields" (1999). A live video was released in 1991, simply called =>"Toto Live" and contains a live show from the "Past to Present" tour in Paris, 1990. This video was re-released with additional material on DVD in 2002 by Sony as "Greatests Hits Live... and More."