Toto, “The Other Side” from Kingdom of Desire (1992): Toto Tuesdays
“The Other Side” seems like an odd man out on 1992’s Kingdom of Desire, yet it is one of my favorite songs on the album – and one of my top 5 Toto ballads.
That’s no easy task: Steve Lukather-sung Toto ballads tend to be a step above contemporary bands of that era. Still, “2 Hearts” and “Only You” – found elsewhere on this studio project – seem to be missing the Toto magic. It could be that the rockers on Kingdom of Desire are so good that the ballads often have a bar that’s simply too high to reach.
“The Other Side” has no such trouble. Lukather’s Bruce Gaitsch-like melody guitar and tasty solo are moving. Additionally, “The Other Side” may be his best vocal performance on the album. The vocal choir (including Arnold McCuller, Kevin Dorsey, Phillip Ingram and Billy Sherwood) found here is inspiring, and totally in keeping with the song.
Breaking with the all-band writing collaborations that dominated Kingdom of Desire, “The Other Side” includes contributions by Rory Kaplan and Sherwood, in addition to David Paich. Billy Sherwood, a long-time collaborator with Yes, has his own lengthy history with Toto – stretching back to the first Lodgic album, which featured production from David Paich and Steve Porcaro. (Additionally, Toto has a history with Jon Anderson, on the City of Love album and with Yes).
I caught up with Billy Sherwood before he was to embark on the Cruise to the Edge and Yes50 tour, and asked about his involvement with the song.
“David (Paich) said he had a song he was writing and didn’t know what project it would be on,” Sherwood told me. “He had the basic backing track, but asked me to take a swing at alternate words and play with the melody of the song. He really liked what I came up with and played it for the guys in Toto. They dug it too. Luke (Steve Lukather) sang the lead vocal and the song landed on Kingdom of Desire. I’m really proud of the song and honored to have it on the record, as it was Jeff (Porcaro)’s last Toto record.”
CJ Vanston also makes an appearance, programming and playing a synthesizer program that simulated a pedal steel guitar. (CJ tells us that David Paich and Steve Porcaro first heard this patch when Greg Ladanyi played them a track Vanston did for Dolly Parton, and the Toto guys decided to add it.) That opened the door for a close working friendship with Toto. Vanston later earned producer credits on Toto XIV, as well as several Steve Lukather solo projects.