Music News

Renowned jazz drummer/percussionist Joe Porcaro, father of three Toto members, dead at 90

Getty Joeporcaro630 070820
Joe Porcaro in 1998; Robert Knight Archive/Redferns

Joe Porcaro, an acclaimed jazz drummer and percussionist whose three sons — Jeff, Steve and Mike — were members of Toto, died Monday at the age 90.

Porcaro’s surviving son, Steve, announced his father’s passing in a message posted on his official Facebook page.

“Surrounded by his wife Eileen and his family, Joe passed peacefully in his sleep,” the message reads. “Please allow a few days before reaching out with phone calls and texts. Given the enormous amount of people who Joe considered family and whose lives Joe has impacted, it would be overwhelming to respond just now.

Steve adds, “Please know that we so appreciate your love, thoughts, friendship and can’t wait to celebrate his amazing life with all of you.”

Joe’s career as a session musician spanned decades, and he played on recordings by a variety of music stars, including Rosemary Clooney, Nancy Sinatra, The Monkees, Bonnie Raitt, Peggy Lee, Boz Scaggs, Glen Campbell, Olivia Newton-John, Eric Carmen, Paul Anka, Donna Summer, Barbra Streisand, Madonna, Richard Marx, and Joe Cocker.

Porcaro also contributed to several Toto albums, including playing the marimba solo from the band’s chart-topping 1982 song, “Africa.”

Joe’s sons Jeff and Steve were two of Toto’s founding members, playing drums and keyboards, respectively, in the band. Mike Porcaro later joined Toto on bass, and played with the group for many years. Jeff Porcaro died of a heart attack in 1992 at the age of 38 and Mike passed away from complications of Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2015 at age 59.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.