Toto – Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around the Sun (review)

The best, single-disc collection of the band’s music ever assembled

Toto’s debut album was a surprise hit when it was released back in 1978.  Four decades later, the band continues to tour and create new music.  That legacy is celebrated with Greatest Hits: Forty Trips Around the Sun, a new compilation from Legacy Recordings.

Few bands from that time period are even around now, yet Toto remains relevant.  One reason is their versatility.  Take the singles from band’s debut – the insistent “Hold the Line” had an odd drumbeat from Jeff Porcaro and killer guitar solo from Steve Lukather, while the slinky “Georgy Porgy” was a bona fide R&B hit.  Then there’s their biggest hit, 1982’s “Africa.”  Buoyed by a strange time signature and moody keyboards, who’d have guessed that it would go all the way to #1?  

That excellent musicianship is what elevates these tracks above your standard pop songs – Pocaro’s infectious beat fuels their other monster hit, “Rosanna,” while Lukather gets a chance to stretch out during the coda to the moody “99.”  “I’ll Supply the Love” is an underrated rocker that shows off how tight the band was.  Starting with a crunchy guitar riff and pounding drums, the song eventually features a jazzy middle that pays homage to the “Main Title” from Star Wars (at least that’s what it sounds like to me!).

There are a few surprises here too – “Afraid of Love” is a great album track from Toto IV that proves that the guys could pull off a straight-ahead rocker, while “I Won’t Hold You Back” is a decent ballad.

They’ve also included a trio of new tracks: “Spanish Sea” is a outtake from the 1984 Isolation sessions which features a drumbeat similar to “Africa,” while “Struck By Lightning” has a big Eighties rock feel.  “Alone” is the best of the three, a moody pop number with a great chorus reminiscent of their finest work.

Toto has done a great job of keeping their songs in the public eye through their inclusion in movies, TV shows and even video games.  Containing all the high points plus a few surprises thrown in for good measure, Forty Trips Around the Sun is recommended for long-time fans, and those just wanting to learn about this underrated band of studio musicians.  —Tony Peters