Jeffrey Thomas Porcaro (; April 1, 1954 – August 5, 1992) was an American drummer, songwriter and record producer. He is best known for his work with the rock band Toto, but is one of the most recorded session musicians, working on hundreds of albums and thousands of sessions. While already an established studio player in the 1970s, he came to prominence in the United States as the drummer on the Steely Dan album ''Katy Lied''. AllMusic has characterized him as "arguably the most highly regarded studio drummer in rock from the mid-'70s to the early '90s", and says that "it is no exaggeration to say that the sound of mainstream pop/rock drumming in the 1980s was, to a large extent, the sound of Jeff Porcaro." He was posthumously inducted into the ''Modern Drummer'' Hall of Fame in 1993.

Early life

Jeffrey Thomas Porcaro was born on April 1, 1954, in Hartford, Connecticut, the eldest son of Los Angeles session percussionist of Italian descent Joe Porcaro (1930-2020) and his wife, Eileen. His younger brother Mike was a successful bassist and was a member of the band Toto. Younger brother Steve is still a studio musician and member of Toto. Porcaro was raised in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles and attended Ulysses S. Grant High School. The Porcaro family is, on the paternal side, originally from San Luca, an Aspromonte village in the province of Reggio Calabria. The three musician brothers were the sons of Joe Porcaro, a well-known jazz drummer and percussionist, born in Hartford, capital of Connecticut (USA) to Mike, a Calabrian emigrant from S. Luca, and a mother from Campania; the couple had moved to the US in the early twentieth century. Grandfather Mike was himself a percussionist and it is with him that the family musical tradition began, passed on to his son Joe and then to his three famous grandchildren.


Porcaro began playing drums at the age of seven. Lessons came from his father Joe Porcaro, followed by further studies with Bob Zimmitti and Richie Lepore. When he was seventeen, he got his first professional gig playing in Sonny & Cher's touring band. He later called Jim Keltner and Jim Gordon his idols at that time. During his twenties, Porcaro played on hundreds of albums, including several for Steely Dan. He toured with Boz Scaggs before co-founding Toto with his brother Steve and childhood friends Steve Lukather and David Paich. Jeff Porcaro is renowned among drummers for the drum pattern he used on the Grammy Award-winning Toto song "Rosanna", from the album ''Toto IV''. The drum pattern, called the Half-Time Shuffle Groove, was originally created by drummer Bernard Purdie, who called it the "Purdie Shuffle." Porcaro created his own version of this groove by blending the aforementioned shuffle with John Bonham's groove heard in the Led Zeppelin song "Fool in the Rain". Porcaro describes this groove in detail on a Star Licks video (now DVD) he created shortly after "Rosanna" became popular. Besides his work with Toto, he was also a highly sought session musician. Porcaro collaborated with many of the biggest names in music, including George Benson, Tommy Bolin, Larry Carlton, Eric Carmen, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Christopher Cross, Miles Davis, Dire Straits, Donald Fagen, Stan Getz, David Gilmour, James Newton Howard, Al Jarreau, Elton John, Leo Sayer, Greg Lake, Rickie Lee Jones, Paul McCartney, Michael McDonald, Bee Gees, Sérgio Mendes, Jim Messina, Pink Floyd, Lee Ritenour, Diana Ross, Boz Scaggs, Seals and Crofts, Bruce Springsteen, Steely Dan, Barbra Streisand, Richard Marx, Don Henley, David Foster, Donna Summer, Frankie Valli and Joe Walsh. Porcaro contributed drums to four tracks on Michael Jackson's ''Thriller'' and also played on the ''Dangerous'' album hit "Heal the World". He also played on 10cc's ''...Meanwhile'' (1992). On the 1993 ''10cc Alive'' album, recorded after his death, the band dedicated "The Night That the Stars Didn't Show" to him. Richard Marx dedicated the song "One Man" to him and said Porcaro was the best drummer he had ever worked with. Michael Jackson made a dedication to Porcaro in the liner notes for his 1995 album ''HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I''.


Porcaro died at Humana Hospital-West Hills on the evening of August 5, 1992, at the age of 38, after falling ill from spraying insecticide in the yard of his Hidden Hills home. The coroner ruled out an accident, and determined a heart attack due to occlusive coronary artery disease caused by atherosclerosis resulting from cocaine use. His funeral was held on August 10 in the Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery, where he was buried on the Lincoln Terrace, lot 120. The Jeff Porcaro Memorial Fund was established to benefit the music and art departments of Grant High School in Los Angeles, California, where he was a student in the early 1970s. A memorial concert took place at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles on December 14, 1992, with an all-star line-up that included George Harrison, Boz Scaggs, Donald Fagen, Don Henley, Michael McDonald, David Crosby, Eddie Van Halen, and the members of Toto. The proceeds of the concert were used to establish an education trust fund for Porcaro's sons. Porcaro's tombstone was inscribed with the following epitaph, comprising lyrics from ''Kingdom of Desire'' track "Wings of Time": "Our love doesn't end here; it lives forever, on the Wings of Time."


Porcaro endorsed Pearl drums, pedals, racks and hardware, Paiste cymbals, Remo drumheads and Regaltip drumsticks. He had his own Regaltip Jeff Porcaro signature drumsticks, which are still made by the company as of 2020. He used other brands of drums until joining Pearl in 1982, notably Ludwig, Gretsch, Camco, and Yamaha Drums.


With Toto

* ''Toto'' (1978) * ''Hydra'' (1979) * ''Turn Back'' (1981) * ''Toto IV'' (1982) * ''Isolation'' (1984) * ''Dune'' riginal soundtrack(1984) *
Olympic Games 1984 (soundtrack)
' riginal soundtrack(1984) * ''Fahrenheit'' (1986) * ''The Seventh One'' (1988) * ''Past to Present 1977 - 1990'' (1990) * ''Kingdom of Desire'' (1992, released posthumously and dedicated to Jeff's memory) * ''Toto XX'' (1998) * ''Greatest Hits Live...and More'' (DVD with behind the scenes footage and interviews) * ''Old Is New'' (2018, posthumous appearance)

With other artists

* Seals & Crofts – ''Diamond Girl'' (1973); ''Unborn Child'' (1974); ''Get Closer'' (1976) * Les DudekLes Dudek (1976) * Three Dog Night - ''American Pastime'' (1976) * Joe Cocker – ''I Can Stand a Little Rain'' (1974); ''Civilized Man'' (1984) * Steely Dan – ''Pretzel Logic'' (1974) - "Night by Night", "Parker's Band"; ''Katy Lied'' (1975); "FM (No Static at All)" (1978, for the ''FM'' movie soundtrack album); ''Gaucho'' (1980) - "Gaucho" * Tommy Bolin – ''Teaser'' (1975) - "The Grind", "Homeward Strut", "Dreamer", "Teaser" * Jackson BrowneThe Pretender (1976) * Leo Sayer – ''Endless Flight'' (1976) - "When I Need You"; ''Thunder in My Heart'' (1977); ''Leo Sayer'' (1978); ''World Radio'' (1982); ''Have You Ever Been in Love'' (1983) * Boz Scaggs – ''Silk Degrees'' (1976); ''Down Two Then Left'' (1977); ''Middle Man'' (1980); "Look What You've Done to Me" (1980, featured in the movie ''Urban Cowboy''); "Miss Sun" (1980, released as a single, then included on the compilation ''Hits!''); ''Other Roads'' (1988) * John Sebastian – ''Welcome Back'' (1976) * Carly Simon – "Nobody Does It Better" (1977) * Eric Carmen – ''Boats Against the Current'' (1977) - "She Did It" * Valerie Carter – ''Just a Stone's Throw Away'' (1977); ''Wild Child'' (1978) * Lisa Dal Bello – ''Lisa Dal Bello'' (1977) * Hall & Oates – ''Beauty on a Back Street'' (1977) * Lee Ritenour – ''Captain Fingers'' (1977); ''Rit'' (1981) * Diana Ross – ''Baby It's Me'' (1977); ''Ross'' (1983) * Colin Blunstone – ''Never Even Thought'' (1978) * Larry Carlton – ''Larry Carlton'' (1978); ''Sleepwalk'' (1981); ''Friends'' (1983) * Allen Toussaint – ''Motion'' (1978) *Linda Evans - "You Control Me" (1979) * Dave Mason – ''Mariposa De Oro'' (1978) - "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" * Warren Zevon – ''Excitable Boy'' (1978) - "Nighttime in the Switching Yard"; ''Mr. Bad Example'' (1991) * Ruben Blades – ''Nothing but the Truth'' (1988) * Bim – ''Thistles'' (1978) * Jerry Williams – ''Gone'' (1978) * Al Stewart – ''Time Passages'' (1978) - "Valentina Way" * Marc Jordan - ''Mannequin'' (1978) * The Pointer Sisters - ''Energy'' (1978) * Rickie Lee Jones – ''Rickie Lee Jones'' (1979); ''The Magazine'' (1984) * Janne Schaffer – ''Earmeal'' (1979) * Lowell George – ''Thanks, I'll Eat It Here'' (1979) * Flyer – ''Send a Little Love My Way'' (1979) * Pink Floyd – ''The Wall'' (1979) - "Mother" * Aretha Franklin – ''Aretha'' (1980); ''Love All the Hurt Away'' (1981) * Mariya Takeuchi – ''Miss M'' (1980) * The Brothers Johnson – ''Winners'' (1981) * Peter Frampton – ''Breaking All the Rules'' (1981) * Bee Gees – ''Living Eyes'' (1981) * Char – ''U.S.J'' (1981) * Christopher Cross – "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" (1981); ''Another Page'' (1983); ''Rendezvous'' (1992) * Randy Crawford – ''Secret Combination'' (1981); ''Windsong'' (1982); ''Nightline'' (1983) * Al Jarreau – ''Breakin' Away'' (1981) - "Breakin' Away"; ''Jarreau'' (1983) - "Mornin'", "Step by Step", "Black and Blues" * Amii Ozaki – ''Hot Baby'' (1981) * Greg Lake – ''Greg Lake'' (1981) * Crosby, Stills & Nash – ''Daylight Again'' (1982); ''Allies'' (1983) * Eye to Eye – ''Eye to Eye'' (1982) * Michael Jackson – ''Thriller'' (1982) - "The Girl is Mine", "Beat It", "Human Nature", "The Lady in My Life"; ''Dangerous'' (1991) - "Heal the World" * Donna Summer – ''Donna Summer'' (1982) - "Protection" * Elton John – ''Jump Up!'' (1982) * Melissa Manchester – ''Hey Ricky'' (1982) - "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" * Donald Fagen – ''The Nightfly'' (1982) * Herbie Hancock – ''Lite Me Up'' (1982) * Don Henley – ''I Can't Stand Still'' (1982) - "Dirty Laundry"; ''The End of the Innocence'' (1989) - "New York Minute" * Michael McDonald – ''If That's What It Takes'' (1982) - "I Keep Forgettin'"; ''No Lookin' Back'' (1985); ''Take It to Heart'' (1990) * George Benson – ''In Your Eyes'' (1983) - "Lady Love Me (One More Time)" * James Newton Howard – ''James Newton Howard and Friends'' (1983) * Lionel Richie – ''Can't Slow Down'' (1983) - "Running with the Night"; ''Louder Than Words'' (1996) - "The Climbing" * Paul Simon – ''Hearts and Bones'' (1983) - "Train in the Distance" * Randy Newman – ''Trouble in Paradise'' (1983) - "I Love L.A." * Russ Taff – ''Walls of Glass (1983) - "Walls of Glass", "Jeremiah", "Inside Look" * Chicago – ''Chicago 17'' (1984) - "Stay the Night" * David Gilmour – ''About Face'' (1984) * The Jacksons – ''Victory'' (1984) - "Torture", "Wait" * Paul McCartney – ''Give My Regards to Broad Street'' (1984) - "Silly Love Songs" * Joe Walsh – ''The Confessor'' (1985) * Eric Clapton – ''Behind the Sun'' (1985) - "Forever Man" * Peter Cetera – ''Solitude/Solitaire'' (1986) * Earth, Wind & Fire – ''Touch the World'' (1987) * Roger Hodgson – ''Hai Hai'' (1987) * David Benoit – ''Freedom at Midnight'' (1987); ''Shadows'' (1991) * Jon Anderson – ''In the City of Angels'' (1988) * Luis Miguel – ''Busca Una Mujer'' (1988) * Love and Money – ''Strange Kind of Love'' (1988) * Patti Austin – ''The Real Me'' (1988); Love Is Gonna Getcha (1990) * Dr. John – ''In a Sentimental Mood'' (1989) * Nik Kershaw – ''The Works'' (1989) - "Walkabout" * Poco – ''Legacy'' (1989) * Clair Marlo – ''Let It Go'' (1989) * Celine Dion – ''Have a Heart'' (1989) * Natalie Cole – ''Good to Be Back'' (1989) - "Miss You Like Crazy", "Starting Over Again" * Madonna – ''Like a Prayer'' (1989) - "Cherish"; ''I'm Breathless'' (1990) - "Hanky Panky" * Jude Cole – ''A View from 3rd Street'' (1990) - "Time for Letting Go", "Compared to Nothing"; ''Start the Car'' (1992) - "Open Road", "Tell The Truth" * Sandi Patty – "Another Time...Another Place" (1990) * Bruce Springsteen – "Viva Las Vegas" (1990, included in the collective album ''The Last Temptation of Elvis'' and featured in the movie ''Honeymoon in Vegas''); ''Human Touch'' (1992) * Fahed Mitre – ''Toda la Verdad'' (1990) * Twenty Mondays – ''The Twist Inside'' (1990) * Bryan Duncan – ''Anonymous Confessions of a Lunatic Friend'' (1990) * Emily Remler – ''This Is Me'' (1990) * Michael Bolton – ''Time, Love & Tenderness'' (1991) - "When a Man Loves a Woman" * Cher – ''Mermaids'' (1990) - "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)"; ''Love Hurts'' (1991) - "Could've Been You" * Dire Straits – ''On Every Street'' (1991) - "Calling Elvis", "Heavy Fuel" * Richard Marx – ''Rush Street'' (1991); ''Paid Vacation'' (1993) - "One Man" * Bonnie Raitt – ''Luck of the Draw'' (1991) * Rod Stewart – ''Vagabond Heart'' (1991) - "The Motown Song" * Curtis Stigers – ''Curtis Stigers'' (1991) * Ricky Gianco – ''E' rock & roll'' (1991) * B-52s – ''Good Stuff'' (1992) * Go West – ''Indian Summer'' (1992) * 10cc – ''...Meanwhile'' (1992) * Bruce Springsteen – ''Human Touch'' (1992) - "Human Touch" * Paul Young – ''The Crossing'' (1993) * David Crosby – ''Thousand Roads'' (1993) * Steve Porcaro – ''Someday/Somehow'' (2016) - "Back to You"

See also

* Rosanna shuffle


The book ''It's About Time Jeff Porcaro The Man And His Music'', a new biography written by Robyn Flans was released in mid September 2020. Forewords by Jim Keltner.


External links

Tribute site with complete discography of sessions.

Official Toto website section dedicated to Porcaro

2013 Audio Interview with Steve Lukather talking about Jeff Porcaro from the I'd Hit That podcast

{{DEFAULTSORT:Porcaro, Jeff Category:1954 births Category:1992 deaths Category:Musicians from Hartford, Connecticut Category:People from South Windsor, Connecticut Category:Grammy Award winners Category:American rock drummers Category:American session musicians Category:American people of Italian descent Category:Toto (band) members Category:Clover (band) members Category:Burials at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills) Category:20th-century American drummers Category:20th-century male musicians Category:American male drummers Category:Deaths from arteriosclerosis Category:Disease-related deaths in California Category:Grant High School (Los Angeles) alumni