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The Secret Sound of the 1980s: Jeff Porcaro

Getty Images / Redferns / Jim McCrary

The Secret Sound of the 1980s: Jeff Porcaro

Drumming was family business for Jeff Porcaro, the incredibly prolific drummer born 60 years ago today. Porcaro was born into a musical family, the son of a Los Angeles session percussionist and a flutist. He dropped out of high school to pursue music, playing for The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour and then on two Steely Dan albums before becoming a full-time session drummer like his father. The younger Porcaro was highly in demand, contributing to hundreds of albums throughout his career. According to the online music database AllMusic.com, he laid down beats for the likes of Barbara Streisand, Pink Floyd, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen, to name just a few.

Here he is showing his skills in concert:



Porcaro's remarkable career as a session drummer would prove sufficient to secure his legacy as a pop and rock legend, but he will be remembered best for the band he started in 1977: Toto. Together with his younger brother and a talented team of session artists, Porcaro and Toto scored a string of hits in the late 1970s and '80s, including "Rosanna," "Hold the Line" and their signature classic, "Africa."

See the full band perform "Africa" live in this extended clip:



Unfortunately, Porcaro died suddenly in 1992, shortly after Toto recorded its eighth studio album, Kingdom of Desire. He was just 38. His tombstone is inscribed with lyrics from that album: "Our love doesn't end here; it lives forever, on the Wings of Time."
 

Written by Seth Joseph. Find him on Google+.