♫ Hold The Line ♫

dorothy-totoA couple of days ago I played a song … I don’t remember which one it was now … and Roger commented that he liked the bands Toto, Journey, and Kansas.  Immediately, I thought of The Wizard of Oz … Dorothy left Kansas and took Toto on a Journey.  So anyway, then I started thinking that those are three bands that I haven’t featured very much on my music posts.  Tonight, I decided to consider some Toto songs.  To date, the only Toto song I have played here is Africa, probably the one they are best known for.  Tonight, I add Hold the Line to that list …

According to SongFacts …

This pop nugget was the first single by Toto, a group made up of six very talented session musicians who had backed up artists like Boz Scaggs, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand and Jackson Browne. Written by their keyboard man David Paich with lead vocals by Bobby Kimball, it deals with the mysteries of love. It proved that a slick pop song created by top players could succeed without a great deal of hype or a charismatic lead singer. Toto was a Top 40 staple in the ’80s, releasing nine hit songs, including the #1 “Africa.”

“Hold the line” is an expression meaning to maintain your existing position, which in this case is the singer telling a girl to be patient and stay with their relationship.

The saying also has a more literal meaning, however, which is how David Paich came up with the title. “Hold the line” is what you tell someone on the phone if you want to put them on hold while you’re taking another call. This is typical in workplaces, but in the days before cell phones, some households (especially ones with teenagers) also had multiple phone lines coming in and could put callers on hold. Paich lived in one such household.

In his 2015 Songfacts interview, Paich said: “When I was in high school, all of a sudden the phone started ringing off the hook, and I had a situation where I was at the dinner table and I had three girls all call at the same time, so all the lights were flashing. I was kind of juggling girlfriends, and that’s how that came about.”

By 2008, guitarist Steve Lukather was the only original member still with the band when he decided to call it quits. He made this statement on the band’s official website:

“Honestly I have just had enough. This is NOT a break. It is over. 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.”

Hold the Line
Toto

It’s not in the way that you hold me
It’s not in the way you say you care
It’s not in the way you’ve been treating my friends
It’s not in the way that you stayed till the end
It’s not in the way you look or the things that you say that you’ll do

Hold the line, love isn’t always on time, oh oh oh
Hold the line, love isn’t always on time, oh oh oh

It’s not in the words that you told me, girl
It’s not in the way you say you’re mine, ooh
It’s not in the way that you came back to me
It’s not in the way that your love set me free
It’s not in the way you look or the things that you say that you’ll do

Hold the line, love isn’t always on time, oh oh oh
Hold the line, love isn’t always on time, oh oh oh

It’s not in the words that you told me
It’s not in the way you say you’re mine, ooh
It’s not in the way that you came back to me
It’s not in the way that your love set me free
It’s not in the way you look or the things that you say that you’ll do

Hold the line, love isn’t always on time, oh oh oh
Hold the line, love isn’t always on time (Love isn’t always on time)

Hold the line, love isn’t always on time (love isn’t always, love isn’t always on time)
Hold the line, love isn’t always on time
Love isn’t always on time
Love isn’t always on time
Love isn’t always on time, oh oh oh

Songwriters: David Paich
Hold the Line lyrics © Spirit Music Group

♫ I Keep Forgettin’ ♫

Tonight I am tired and was just settling down after washing a mountain of dishes to decide on the song for the day, but my mind wasn’t cooperating.  Then all of a sudden, as if dropped onto my dashboard by karma, came a comment from friend Patty with a suggestion …

“How about,  I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near) by Michael McDonald? I love that one!!!!”, said she, and so it shall be!

Michael McDonald recorded this with his sister Maureen McDonald providing background vocals. It was featured on If That’s What It Takes, his first solo album away from The Doobie Brothers.  Greg Phillinganes, Steve Lukather and Jeff Porcaro of the band Toto played the clavinet, guitar and drums respectively. Noted bassist Louis Johnson laid down the song’s pronounced bassline.

This song was written by the legendary songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and was originally recorded by R&B singer Chuck Jackson in 1962. The song was also recorded by The Checkmates Ltd. and The Hi-Fi’s before Michael McDonald put together a new version of the song with Ed Sanford of Sanford And Townsend. It was the first solo hit for McDonald.

And without further ado … here you go, Patty!

I Keep Fogettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)
Michael McDonald

I keep forgettin’ we’re not in love anymore
I keep forgettin’ things will never be the same again
I keep forgettin’ how you made that so clear
I keep forgettin’

Everytime you’re near
Everytime I see you smile
Hear your “hello”
Saying you can only stay a while

Hey, I know that it’s hard for you
To say the things that we both know are true
But tell me how come

I keep forgettin’ we’re not in love anymore
I keep forgettin’ things will never be the same again
I keep forgettin’ how you made that so clear
I keep forgettin’

Everytime I hear
How you never want to live a lie
How it’s gone too far
And you don’t have to tell me why

Why you’re gone and the game is through
If this is what’s real, if this is what’s true
Tell me how come

I keep forgettin’ we’re not in love anymore (baby)
I keep forgettin’ things will never be the same again
I keep forgettin’ how you made that so clear (yeah, baby)
I keep forgettin’

Don’t say that, don’t say that, don’t say that
I know you’re not mine anymore, anyway, anytime
But tell me how come

I keep forgettin’ we’re not in love anymore (How come I)
I keep forgettin’ things will never be the same again
I keep forgettin’ how you made that so clear
I keep forgettin’ (baby)

Everytime you’re near (I keep forgettin’ we’re not in love anymore)
Everytime you’re near (I keep forgettin’ things will never be the same again)
Oh Baby (I keep forgettin’ how you made that so clear)
Everytime you’re near (I keep forgettin’)

Songwriters: Jerry Leiber / Mike Stoller
I Keep Fogettin’ (Every Time You’re Near) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Running With The Night ♫

I’m in the mood for some Lionel Richie tonight … what do you say?

Richie co-wrote this with the lyricist Cynthia Weil, and co-produced it with James Anthony Carmichael. The electric guitar solo was played by Steve Lukather, best known as a member of the rock band Toto. Lukather sat down in the studio and the engineer played the basic tracks of the song, for him to hear for the first time, so he could plan his part. As the music played, he jammed along on his instrument. At the conclusion of the tune, he said to the engineer, “Okay, I’m ready for a take.” The producer replied, “That was a take.”  Some adult contemporary stations edited out Lukather’s guitar solo “to make the song less rock-sounding.”  That makes no sense to me, but what do I know?

When a young Richard Marx moved from Chicago to Los Angeles and was amassing rejection letters for his demos, Lionel Richie gave him a shot, and had him sing backup on this track. Before he hit it big as a solo artist, Marx lent his vocals to several other Richie recordings, including All Night Long.

Running With the Night
Lionel Richie

The heart of the city street was beating
Light from the neons turned the dark to day
We were too hot to think of sleeping
We had to get out before the magic got away

We were running with the night
Playing in the shadows
Just you and I, till the morning light
(We were running, running with the night) oh

You were looking so good girl, heads were turning
You and me on the town, ooh, we let it all hang out
The fire was in us, we were burning
We were gonna go all the way and we never had a doubt

We were running with the night
Playing in the shadows
Just you and I, till the morning light
(We were running, running with the night) oh

We were so in love, you and me
On the boulevard wild and free
Giving all we got, we laid it down
Taking every shot, we took the town

We were running with the night
Playing in the shadows
Just you and I and it was so right
Girl, it was so right

Songwriters: Cynthia Weil / Lionel Richie
Running With the Night lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Africa ♫

If you say, “Toto” to me, I will immediately think of the little doggie in the movie, The Wizard of Oz.  If you remind me that you mean the band, Toto, only one song will come to mind … Africa.  It is, to me, their signature song, the only one I can name of theirs.

‘Twasn’t always so, though, and the song almost didn’t even get recorded.  In an article in Time magazine, one of the group members said they were looking for a song just to close off the album and did not think Africa would do as well as it did. They also mentioned that if you listen close enough during the lyrics “catch some waves,” some group members were singing “catch some rays.”

Toto keyboard player David Paich wrote the song …

“At the beginning of the ’80s I watched a late night documentary on TV about all the terrible death and suffering of the people in Africa. It both moved and appalled me and the pictures just wouldn’t leave my head. I tried to imagine how I’d feel about if I was there and what I’d do.

There’s a little metaphor involved here, because I was at the age where I was so immersed in my work, 24/7, that at times I felt like I was becoming just a victim of my work. There was a little bit of autobiographical information in there: being consumed by my work, not having time to go out and pursue getting married and raising a family and doing all the things that other people do that were my age at the time.”

This is probably Toto’s most famous song, but per guitarist Steve Lukather …

“A lot of people categorize us as ‘that ‘Africa’ or ‘Rosanna’ band,’ and I hate that s–t. We have a lot more substance than that. Don’t get me wrong – those songs have been great to us, but you really don’t understand the depth of the band if that’s all you know.

According to an article in Rolling Stone in October 2018 …

“Nothing sums up 2018 like the fact that Toto’s “Africa” has become our unofficial anthem. It’s a song that’s ridiculous by definition — an Eighties ode to Africa by a bunch of L.A. rock dudes who’d never set foot in the place. But something about this song speaks to our moment. It’s the new “Don’t Stop Believin’” — a mega-cheese classic of Eighties sentiment that’s gotten bizarrely popular in recent years, beloved by hipsters and moms and tone-deaf karaoke singers screaming “I bless the rains down in Africa!” Love it or hate it, you’ve probably heard it today. You’ll hear it tomorrow. This damn song follows you everywhere, like the sound of wild dogs crying out in the night.”

Africa
Toto

I hear the drums echoing tonight
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
She’s coming in, 12:30 flight
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation
I stopped an old man along the way
Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies
He turned to me as if to say, “Hurry boy, it’s waiting there for you”

It’s gonna take a lot to take me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless, longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what’s right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve become

It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

Hurry boy, she’s waiting there for you

It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa
(I bless the rain)
I bless the rains down in Africa
(I bless the rain)
I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa
(Ah, gonna take the time)
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

Songwriters: David Paich / Jeff Porcaro
Africa lyrics © Spirit Music Group