Song Review by

Few knew what this "99" meant when it was first heard in late 1979. The debut single from the group's second album, Hydra, boasted a seamless blend of R&B, pop, and smoothly executed hooks. Fans would expect nothing less from a group made famous by being Boz Scaggs' Silk Degrees-era studio dogs. Oh yeah, what does "99" mean? Reportedly the idea for this came from the eerie George Lucas film THX-1138 that depicted society in the 25th century. That's the reason why the love interest here is without a name. Did it matter? Nope, the point was made through the music. In fact, during its release, "99" seemed to possess a sorrow that a lot of draggy, pensive ballads couldn't muster. That fact makes this a classic. Emotionally what makes this work are Steve Lukather's pitch-perfect and poignant vocals. David Paich's skillful keyboard work is the glue that keeps this together. Without the tickling piano throughout and the synth solo midway through, the song's not there. This is a rare track. Sure it's 1979-1980 coming and going, but the strength and nuance of the playing will continue to wow. Who needs a name?

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Hydra 1979 Columbia 5:16
Past to Present 1977-1990 1990 Columbia 5:12
Legend: The Best of Toto 1996 Columbia 5:13
Toto/Hydra/Toto IV 1997 Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 5:16
Songs You Know by Heart: Songs of Love 1998
Various Artists
Monster Hits 80-81 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 5:11
Hits of 1980 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:11
Classic Rock 70's 2000
Various Artists
Trans World 5:11
Collections 2001 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 5:12
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:11
Hold the Line: The Best of Toto 2001 Zounds Music 5:12
A Year in Your Life: 1980, Vol. 1 2001
Various Artists
Definitive 5:11
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Platinum Entertainment 5:11
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Platinum Entertainment 5:11
Very Best of Toto 2002 Sony Music Distribution 5:14
Greatest Hits...And More 2002 Sony Music Distribution 3:26
Love Songs 2003 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 5:16
The Essential Toto 2003 Legacy / Columbia 5:15
No Image 2004 Columbia 5:13
Greatest Hits Live...And More/Past to Present 1977-1990 2004 5:13
Rosanna: The Very Best of Toto 2005 Sony Music 5:13
Hold the Line 2005 Rex 3:27
Toto/Hydra 2006 Phantom Import Distribution / CBS Records / Sony BMG 5:16
I'll Supply the Love 2007 Sony Music 3:27
Hit Collection 2007 Sony BMG 5:13
Greatest Hits [Steel Box Collection] 2008 Commercial Canada / Sony Music Distribution 5:14
The Rock Box 2011 Sony Music 5:13
40 Trips Around the Sun 2018 Columbia / Legacy 5:15