Robert Troy “Bobby” Kimball (born March 29, 1947) is an American singer, best known as the original and longtime former frontman of the rock band Toto
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 playing piano and acoustic guitar in a musical household throughout his youth – mostly covering and performing 1950s and 1960s R&B hits, 1800s Traditional Olde Tyme music; as well as rare local Swamp pop and Cajun folk songs, typical of Louisiana. His parents were extremely supportive of his hobby of performing music and his musical talents; and devoted much interest in his opportunity to become a professional musician as full-time career by adulthood. He is of English, Cajun French, Welsh and Jewish ancestry. He graduated from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1969. Throughout the 1970s, Kimball performed as the vocalist in various New Orleans-area bands, including The Levee Band, which became LeRoux after Kimball left.
In 1974, Kimball moved from Louisiana to Los Angeles, California to pursue a full-time music career. In California, he joined three members of Three Dog Night to form a band called S.S. Fools. They released one album on CBS Records, which was considered a commercial failure, causing the band to be dropped from their label and to split up within a year and a half. In 1976, David Paich and Jeff Porcaro asked Kimball to join them with three other session musicians, who would eventually form Toto. He submitted a self-penned audition song for the band: “You Are the Flower”, which he had written for his daughter and was later included on Toto’s debut album. Paich and Porcaro were impressed by Kimball’s bluesy and long-ranged vocal style and offered him the job of vocalist and songwriter. The pair liked Kimball’s ability to sing in an R&B style and to fuse it with hard rock and jazz, which was characteristic and attributed to his Louisiana origins.
Kimball performed on the first four studio albums by Toto, though roughly half the songs the band recorded during this period (including a comparable share of their hits) featured other members of the group on lead vocals instead of Kimball. He was asked to leave the band in 1984 during the sessions for the Isolation album. In the late 1990s, on good terms with his former bandmates, Kimball was asked to rejoin Toto, which he again accepted.
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