99 (song)

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Toto - 99 (German).png
West German release with 1980 tour dates
Single by Toto
from the album Hydra
Released3 December 1979 (US) [1]
GenreSoft rock
Length3:28 (Single Version)
5:16 (Album Version)[2]
Songwriter(s)David Paich
Producer(s)Toto, Tom Knox, James Guthrie
Toto singles chronology
"St. George and the Dragon"
"All Us Boys"

"99" is a song by the American rock band Toto. The song appeared on the Hydra album in 1979.[3] As a single, it reached number 26 on the Billboard charts.[4] In Canada, the song peaked at number 17 on the RPM singles chart.


The song was written as a tribute to George Lucas's film THX 1138, and the music video resembles a scene in the movie.[2][3][5] The song was not about Barbara Feldon's Get Smart character, a girl who is almost perfect, Wayne Gretzky, or the number of beer bottles on the wall. Two other songs in the 1980s would also have "99" in the title, Prince's "1999" and Nena's "99 Luftballons".[6]

In the video, as in the movie scene where the main character (named "THX 1138" and nicknamed "Thex") is imprisoned, the room is completely white and everyone is wearing a white jumpsuit.[7] Toto Legend, the former official International Toto Fan Club newsletter, reviewed the video:

'99' was predominantly a performance video, though the set design was rather conceptual. Following David Paich's intention regarding the lyrics, about a sterile society in which names are forgotten and love forbidden, the set was sterile white, with various sized sculptured 99's hanging and standing about, and the band was clad in futuristic white jumpsuits. There were some notable shots in this one – keyboard close-ups and an artistic view of Jeff through a transparent drum head, a technique that several popular videos have copied since.[7]



Track listing[edit]

  1. "99" – (3:28)
  2. "Hydra" – (5:04)


  1. ^ "99 discography".
  2. ^ a b Elias, Jason. "Song Review: 99 – Toto". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  3. ^ a b Ryan, Tim (7 May 2004). "TOTO flies high on tour". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  4. ^ Hyrdra singles in the Billboard Charts, AllMusicGuide.
  5. ^ Saldaña, Edmundo García (19 October 2001). "De 'Africa' al Foro". Reforma (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  6. ^ "The Story Behind Toto's 99". The WestCoast Breeze. 19 February 2018.
  7. ^ a b "99". Toto Encyclopedia. The Official Toto Website. 28 April 2007. Archived from the original on 18 June 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2010.