Craig Allen’s Fun Facts: “Rosanna” by Toto
"Rosanna" isn't about Rosanna, "which is how songs happen sometimes!"
David Paich (keyboards) and Jeff Porcaro (drums) had played together as session musicians on numerous albums...for bands including Steely Dan (with Jersey native Walter Becker), Seals & Crofts, Boz Scaggs, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Jackson Browne, and Michael McDonald....before deciding to form their own band.
Since forming, there have been many lineup changes, but the 1977 Toto also included David Hungate on bass guitar, Steve Lukather on guitar, Steve Porcaro on keyboards, and Bobby Kimball on vocals.
Lukather and Steve Porcaro had been high school buddies, and were in the band "Rural Still Life" (later "Still Life").
Popular myth has it that in the first recording sessions, Paich wrote "Toto" on the demo tapes, to differentiate them from tapes made by the other bands using the studio.
"Hold The Line" would be the band's biggest hit of the late 1970's. I've written about it...click here for the nj1015.com story!
Back to "Toto"...by the 1980's, some members were telling the media that the band name comes from the dog in "The Wizard Of Oz."
Well, (Dorothy), the "Decade of Decadence" would be good to Toto!
And, our spotlight song...
...would be Toto's first hit of the 1980's!
"Rosanna" would zoom to the #2 spot on the Hot 100 in early 1982...and it would hold at #2 for 5 astounding weeks!
As I said at the top of the "Fun Facts:" It's named Rosanna, but it's not about Rosanna.
This huge Toto hit got it's name from actress Rosanna Arquette, who was dating keyboardist David Porcaro at the time.
"Rosanna" was written by band leader David Paich, who was always looking for good ideas for lyrics...
Paich says the inspiration for the song was "a high school love, one of my first loves, but I just tagged another Rosanna's name on there because she was going at the time with Steve Porcaro, my best friend."
To recap: The name Rosanna "just fit perfectly...so it's got her name on it, but it's really about another high school sweetheart, which is how songs happen sometimes."
But wait...there's more...confusion!
"Rosanna" is sung by lead singer Bobby Kimball...leading fans to think that it was Kimball who was involved with Arquette.
And, would you believe, Rosanna Arquette and Steve Porcaro split up soon after the song was released!
Check out the video! If the girl playing "Rosanna" looks familiar, that's Cynthia Rhodes. She played the part of Penny Johnson in "Dirty Dancing" in 1987.
And, Patrock Swayze is in the video too (TRUE!), although he is harder to spot. Among Rosanna's suitors, he's the guy in the red jacket!
The "West Side Story" idea came from David Paich...although it was not so involved initially. Paich thought, doing a finger-snapping thing would be a good idea. Video Director Steve Barron just took it to another level: Paich saying "We got down to the lot, and all of a sudden, there's like, ten pairs of guys dressed in leather jackets like Grease, jumping around and dancing."
"Rosanna" won a Grammy Award for "Record Of The Year" for 1982.
This helped the album "Toto IV" win "Album Of The Year."
Toto also nabbed the award for "Producer Of The Year" for their work on the album, as they produced it themselves.
1982 was pretty good, right, Toto?
The songs "Africa" and "I Won't Hold You Back" landed in the Top 10 on the charts soon after "Rosanna." More Toto "Top-40" hits would follow through the rest of the 1980's.
Toto would remain active over the years...with some lineup changes.
In 2008, the last remaining original band member, Steve Lukather, decided to call it quits, saying: "I really can't go out and play 'Hold The Line' with a straight face anymore. I was 19 when we cut the record. I am 50 now."
But as is often the case in rock 'n' roll, it wasn't really the end...
Toto briefly reformed for a short European tour in 2010.
Steve Lukather, David Paich, Steve Porcaro and Joseph Williams reformed the band in 2014, releasing "Toto XIV" in 2015!
To date, Toto has released 17 albums, and sold 40 million albums (copies) worldwide!
What's the latest Toto news?
Click here to visit their official website!
This year...2018...is the band's 40th Anniversary!
Keep Rockin' Toto!
"And your little dog, too!"