Isolation (Toto album)
Isolation is the Gold-certified fifth studio album by Toto, released on October 18, 1984. This was the only album the band made with Fergie Frederiksen as the primary vocalist, as he was let go following the album's world tour due to ongoing vocal problems. Isolation failed to achieve the popularity of its predecessor, Toto IV, although it achieved gold record status and gave the band their highest charting mainstream rock single "Stranger in Town" (No. 7). Relatively few songs from this album were featured in live performances after 1985's Isolation World Tour.
|Studio album by|
|Released||October 18, 1984|
|Studio||Record Plant and The Manor (Los Angeles, CA); Sunset Sound, The Villa and Bill Schnee Studios (N. Hollywood, CA); Can-Am Studios (Tarzana, CA); Abbey Road Studios (London, England)|
Background and recordingEdit
While Toto IV was a massive, Grammy winning success, Toto elected not to mount a U.S. tour behind the album. A decision Steve Lukather has since regretted as an opportunity to become a "US-arena rock band." Part of the reluctance to tour was the ongoing personal and legal drug-related problems of lead vocalist Bobby Kimball. As the band began sessions for Isolation, Kimball reportedly struggled badly with his vocals. In later years, Kimball would argue that he sang lead on all the tracks on the album, However, Lukather has stated that he only recorded one lead vocal, for the track "Lion." Even that reportedly required weeks of work, primarily because of Kimball's tendency to not show up for sessions and, when he did, to struggle with the vocals which were at the top of his range. Ultimately, Jeff Porcaro fired Kimball from the band.
The fact the band used multiple lead vocalists on their songs, including David Paich and Lukather, mitigated some of the impact of losing their primary lead vocalist. Nonetheless, it was a significant change for the band. Over the course of the next year, Toto would focus on other projects, notably the soundtrack for the film Dune. The commercial failure of Dune served only to add insult to the injury of having lost their lead vocalist.
When the band finally began auditioning potential lead vocalists, the job was first offered to Richard Page, who ultimately declined the offer because he had a contract for his band, Mr. Mister. Lukather then wanted to offer the job to Eric Martin, of Mr. Big, but Porcaro was interested in Fergie Frederiksen, then lead singer of the band LeRoux. The gig went to Frederiksen, who contributed not only vocals to Isolation, but co-wrote the tracks "Angel Don't Cry," "Isolation," "Mr. Friendly," and "Change of Heart."
The first cover design for Isolation was done by David Lynch, with whom Toto had worked on Dune. Though the band reportedly spent $25,000 on the work, they were ultimately disappointed in it and did not use it. The surreal image that became the cover of Isolation was ultimately chosen by Jeff Porcaro.
While the band was proud of the finished album, Lukather has noted that it was clear Isolation did not "sound like the work of the same band that had made Toto IV." Toto wanted to release the track "Endless," on which Frederiksen sang lead, as the first single. However, Columbia Records opted for "Stranger in Town," sung by David Paich and thought to be more similar to the hit "Africa." While "Stranger in Town" was a Top 30 hit, it was a disappointment compared to the chart topping success of the singles from Toto IV. The promo music video (featuring actor Brad Dourif) for the track was, however, nominated for MTV Video of the Year.
The tour behind Isolation was disastrous due to the fact Toto had been booked into arenas based on the success of Toto IV, The 10,000 seat venues were sparsely attended and, according to Lukather, the band "lost their shirts" on the tour. A tour of Europe was ultimately cancelled and Toto fired their booking agents.
Isolation would eventually achieve gold status in the United States and triple platinum status in Japan, but was nonetheless seen as a commercial failure. Although Frederiksen would begin work with Toto on their sixth album, Fahrenheit, he struggled with the vocals for the first track, "Could This Be Love," and the band moved on to Joseph Williams.
AllMusic's retrospective review praised the performances of Jeff Porcaro, David Paich, and Steve Lukather in passing but dismissed Isolation as "a Journey clone album, minus the aching ballads that had made Journey such a success."
|1.||"Carmen"||David Paich, Jeff Porcaro||3:25|
|2.||"Lion"||Bobby Kimball, Paich||4:46|
|3.||"Stranger in Town"||Paich, J. Porcaro||4:47|
|4.||"Angel Don't Cry"||Fergie Frederiksen, Paich||4:21|
|5.||"How Does It Feel"||Steve Lukather||3:50|
|7.||"Isolation"||Frederiksen, Lukather, Paich||4:04|
|8.||"Mr. Friendly"||Frederiksen, Lukather, Paich, J. Porcaro, Mike Porcaro||4:22|
|9.||"Change of Heart"||Frederiksen, Paich||4:08|
|10.||"Holyanna"||Paich, J. Porcaro||4:19|
- Produced by Toto
- Engineers: Niko Bolas, Tom Knox, Greg Ladanyi and Shep Lonsdale.
- Assistant Engineers: Richard Bosworth, Ann Calnan, Terry Christian, Tom Fletcher, Stuart Furusho, Bill Jackson, Brian Malouf, Peggy McCreary, Franz Pusch, David Schober and Duane Seykora.
- Strings engineered by John Kurlander
- Mixing: Greg Ladanyi and Toto
- Mastering: Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab (Los Angeles, CA).
- Art Direction and Design: Bill Murphy
- Illustration: Robert Kopecky
- Photography: Raul Vega
- Fergie Frederiksen - lead vocals (except on "Stranger in Town", "How Does it Feel" and "Holyanna"), backing vocals
- Steve Lukather - guitars, backing vocals, lead vocals on "How Does It Feel"
- David Paich - keyboards, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Stranger in Town" and "Holyanna", co-lead vocals on "Carmen", orchestral arrangements on "How Does it Feel" and "Change of Heart"
- Steve Porcaro - keyboards, electronic sounds
- Mike Porcaro - bass guitar
- Jeff Porcaro - drums, percussion
- The London Symphony Orchestra - strings on "How Does it Feel" and "Change of Heart"
- James Newton Howard - orchestral arrangements and conductor on "How Does it Feel" and "Change of Heart"
- Marty Paich - conductor on "How Does it Feel" and "Change of Heart"
- Lenny Castro - congas & percussion
- Joe Porcaro - percussion
- Mike Cotten - additional synthesizer on "Stranger in Town"
- Chuck Findley - trumpet
- Jerry Hey - trumpet, horn arrangements on "Lion"
- Tom Scott - saxophone
- Tom Kelly - backing vocal on "How Does it Feel"
- Richard Page - backing vocal on "How Does it Feel"
- Gene Morford - bass vocal on "Stranger in Town"
- Bobby Kimball - additional backing vocals
Catalogue: (LP) Columbia 9C9-39911, (CD) Columbia CK-38962
- Stranger in Town / Change of Heart
- Holyanna / Mr. Friendly
- How Does It Feel / Mr. Friendly
- Endless / Isolation (released in UK)
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- Isolation at AllMusic
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