Toto, “How Many Times” from Kingdom of Desire (1992): Toto Tuesdays
Let’s face it: In lesser hands, “How Many Times” from Toto’s 1992 album Kingdom of Desire, would have been an O.K. song. The band-written track, recorded on February 24, 1991 by Greg Ladanyi, confirms the magic that was and still is Toto.
The rhythmic foundation is solidified by the Jeff Porcaro’s insanely tight groove, which is locked in with Steve Lukather’s melodic guitar. Lukather’s rhythm parts are often forgotten because of his sheer prowess as a soloist and vocalist. Here, his stamp on the hook cannot go unnoticed.
There are slight touches of acoustic guitar added for additional sonic colors. My only criticism is that Luke’s rhythm guitar should have been dropped during the solo, which would further cemented the live feel of the song. This is in no way saying that Luke’s overdubbed solo isn’t spectacular – it is.
Lukather, the most effective Toto ballad singer, provides one of his best lead vocals on Kingdom of Desire. It has grit, and power which is up to the challenge of the musical backing. The overdubbed backing vocals of Mr. Mister’s Richard Page and Steve George are a nice touch, adding a bit of polish to this rocker. David Paich’s synthesizer pads the verses, and he brings in little figures of piano and organ which are so subtle they almost go overlooked, too.
“How Many Times” was not released as a single, though it was a b-side to the mediocre “2 Hearts,” and the near-perfect “Other Side.” This and the fact that it is a go-to live staple gives “How Many Times” a special place in the Toto canon.