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"Stranger in Town" is a hit song by American rock band Toto from their 1984 album Isolation.

"Stranger in Town"
Single by Toto
from the album Isolation
B-side"Change of Heart"
GenreNew wave
Songwriter(s)David Paich, Jeff Porcaro
Toto singles chronology
"Waiting for Your Love"
"Stranger in Town"
"How Does It Feel"

It was the first single released from that album, reaching the Top 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1984.[1] The song was the band's highest-ever charting Mainstream Rock track, eventually peaking at number 7. It was also a Top 40 single in Australia, where it remains the fourth highest charting single by Toto, behind only "Hold the Line", "Rosanna", and "Africa". The song was written by David Paich and Jeff Porcaro, and features Paich on lead vocals. Though Bobby Kimball is officially credited as a guest musician on the album, having been fired from Toto, "Stranger in Town" was recorded while he was still a member of the group.

The music video (filmed in black and white and directed by Steve Barron) and lyrics to the song are based on the film Whistle Down The Wind, about an escaped convict who runs into a group of children that mistake him for Jesus.[2] Actor Brad Dourif plays the convict, and new member Fergie Frederiksen appears as a murder victim.[2] Dourif and Toto would also work on the movie Dune that same year. The band only appears briefly in the music video at the 2 minute 30 second mark of the song. In 1985, the video was nominated at the MTV Music Video Awards for Best Direction.[3]

The song was performed live during the 1985 Isolation tour as well as during the first leg of the subsequent Fahrenheit tour in October-November 1986 before being dropped for the second (European) leg of the tour. It then only resurfaced in the band's live set in 2015-16 (on the Toto XIV tour) and again in 2018 (40 Trips around the Sun tour).




Additional musiciansEdit

  • Mike Cotten – synthesizer
  • Tom Scott – saxophone
  • Gene Morford – bass vocal
  • Bobby Kimball – backing vocal


Chart (1984-85) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[4] 40
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[5] 16
UK Singles Chart[6] 100
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 30
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[8] 7


  1. ^ "Stranger in Town" USA chart history, Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Toto Encyclopedia: Music Videos,
  3. ^ 1985 VMA Winners,
  4. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  5. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 41, No. 17". RPM. 5 January 1985. Retrieved 16 April 2017. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  6. ^ "". Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Billboard: The Hot 100, 22 December 1984". Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Billboard: Mainstream Rock Songs, 8 December 1984". Retrieved 16 April 2017.

External linksEdit