1980 Toto – 99
Studio musicians probably all dream of having their own hit records. The future members of Toto played on records by Steely Dan, Seals and Crofts, Boz Scaggs, and Sonny and Cher before forming their own band. The band signed with Columbia Records and began work on their own album in 1977. To identify their own demos separately from work they did for other acts, they wrote “Toto” on the tapes, and eventually that became the name of the band.
Their first album contained the top five hit Hold The Line in 1978 and allowed the band to begin touring.
Unfortunately, they reached the top forty in the US with a single only once more in the next three years. Keyboard player David Paich wrote the song 99 as a tribute to George Lucas and his early film work, and the song became the lead single from their second album.
George had created the science fiction film Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB while a student at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He contracted with Warner Bros. and American Zoetrope to expand that project into a feature film. Gis first directorial project became THX 1138.
The film did not do well when they released it in 1971, but it became a cult favorite after Star Wars set box office records in 1977.
Toto’s video for the song was similar to a scene in the film.
Toto released the single the last month of 1979 and it peaked at only #26 on the Hot 100 in early 1980. It also took the band to the Adult Contemporary top forty for the first time when it reached #19 on that chart.
The band still struggled to sell records and attract huge crowds until their fourth album generated three top ten singles in 1982 and 1983.
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