Bobby Kimball

For the American football player, see Bobby Kimball (American football).
Bobby Kimball

Kimball live in 2007
Background information
Birth name Robert Troy Kimball
Born (1947-03-29) March 29, 1947
Orange, Texas, United States
Genres Rock
Occupation(s) Singer, musician
Instruments Vocals, Piano
Years active 1962–present
Associated acts Toto, Jimi Jamison, Far Corporation
Website Official website

Robert Troy "Bobby" Kimball (born March 29, 1947) is an American singer, best known as the original and longtime frontman of the rock band Toto.[1]

Early life

Kimball was raised in Vinton, Louisiana, but was born in nearby Orange, Texas, as Vinton did not have a hospital. Kimball started singing as a child, dabbling on vocals and piano in a musical household throughout his youth. Throughout the 1970s, Kimball performed as the vocalist in various New Orleans-area bands, including The Levee Band, which would later become LeRoux after Kimball left.

In 1974, Kimball moved to Los Angeles where he joined three members of Three Dog Night to form a new band called S.S. Fools. They released one album on CBS Records, but the band split up within a year and a half. About six months later, Kimball was asked by David Paich and Jeff Porcaro, to join the five session musicians to form Toto. He submitted a self-penned audition song for the band, "You Are the Flower", which was included on their debut album. Kimball performed on the first four studio albums by Toto, but was released from the band in 1984 during the sessions for the Isolation LP. During this time, Kimball was known to make a variety of sandwiches for the band during recording sessions, something he has stated in interviews as something he is very proud of.

A longstanding urban legend holds that the band named itself 'Toto' after Kimball's "real" name, "Robert Toteaux." This story was actually a joke perpetrated and perpetuated by Toto's original bassist, David Hungate. According to Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, the reason for this choice of band name was that Toto was "really simple, easy to remember and easily identified in every language."[2]

After Toto

After splitting from Toto in 1984,[3] Bobby Kimball relocated to Germany for a solo career under producer Frank Farian of the Far Corporation.[4]

Kimball also continued to work as a session artist, singing background vocals with a trio composed of Michael McDonald from The Doobie Brothers and Bill Champlin of Chicago. Kimball was nearly asked by the band to return to Toto during 1989–1990 to record songs for the band's greatest hits album, Past to Present 1977-1990, only to be replaced by singer Jean-Michel Byron (a decision said to have derived from Sony, the band's record company at the time).[5] Byron was let go shortly thereafter, and guitarist-vocalist Steve Lukather took over Toto's primary lead vocal duties from 1991 to 1999.[5] After leaving the band, Kimball released the live album Classic Toto Hits in late 1990, in which he performed various Toto songs from over the years.[4] He recorded the album with the Frankfurt Rock Orchestra.[4] In 1994, Kimball released his first solo album Rise Up,[4] featuring the single "Woodstock".[4]

Return to Toto

In 1998, Kimball rejoined Toto. The band then returned to the studio to record Mindfields. Toto toured in support of Mindfields throughout 1999 and 2000. In late 1999, the band released the live album Livefields. In 1999, Kimball released his second solo album All I Ever Needed, with the single "Kristine".[4] In 2002, Toto released a covers album Through the Looking Glass. In February 2006, Toto released Falling In Between, their first studio album of new material since 1999; however, it was announced in June 2008 that the band members had gone separate ways. Kimball is currently hosting his own website where he offers vocal advice to aspiring singers.[6]

Latest activities

Bobby Kimball in December 2013

Kimball has toured and done concerts with many of his friends' bands around the world. In January 2010, he did fourteen concerts in Germany on the "Rock Meets Classic" Tour with the Bohemian Symphony Orchestra Prague, featuring Philipp Maier as Conductor and Music Arranger. The singers with Kimball on this tour were Lou Gramm, the original lead vocalist of Foreigner, and Dan McCafferty, from the band Nazareth.

On May 16, 2010, at the LMHOF Louisiana Music Homecoming in Erwinville, LA, Bobby Kimball was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

Kimball recorded a progressive rock album in 2010 entitled Elements under the band name Yoso with former Yes members Tony Kaye and Billy Sherwood. Kimball recorded the 2011 album Kimball/Jamison with Jimi Jamison.

In July 2011, Kimball toured Ireland with an emerging Irish band, Shadowplay.[7] The tour visited Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Sligo, concluding in a headline performance at The Buncrana Music Festival, Ireland's largest not-for-profit music event.

In November 2012, Kimball toured South America. The tour included Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Peru.

In March 2013, Kimball was a special guest vocalist with the Raiding the Rock Vault classic rock tribute show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In May 2014, in Genoa, at the FIM - Fiera Internazionale della Musica, Kimball obtained from the director of the event Verdiano Vera, the FIM Award 2014 - Legend of Rock - Best Voice.

In February 2015, he represented the United States at the LVI International Song Festival in Viña del Mar, Chile, with the song "Living Your Life for Happiness".

Bobby has a new solo album being released this fall and has also done some guest appearances on numerous band's recordings of late...most recently he sang the choruses on the song "Tomorrow" for American progressive rock band Hearafter.

In 2016, music website No Echo featured Kimball on their "Best Male AOR Singers" list.[8]


  1. "Official TOTO Website - TEncyclopedia". 1947-03-29. Retrieved 2015-11-01.
  2. Archived January 18, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. "TOTO flies high on tour". 7 May 2004. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Bobby Kimball". Retrieved 2015-11-01.
  5. 1 2 "Interviews: Steve Lukather". Retrieved 2015-11-01.
  6. "bobbykimball". bobbykimball. 2014-03-09. Retrieved 2015-11-01.
  7. Best Male AOR Singers feature on

External links

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