Toronto is a Canadian rock band formed in 1979, in Toronto, Canada. This is our true and official story, written by us, in contrast to what you might read or be told elsewhere. Although we are not currently touring, we are each active musically and as united as we ever were.

Toronto was formed out of a merger of players from several bands: Rose (drummer Jim Fox and guitarist Brian Allen); Lady (guitarist Sheron Alton); and Sass (lead vocalist Anne “Holly” Woods, keyboardist Scott Kreyer and bassist Nick Costello). The band quickly became something greater than the sum of its parts and our signature sound developed into having a “life” of its own.

Believing in the pedigree of the band members, Neill Dixon and Steve Propas became our management team, funding a trip to make pre-album demos with producer Sonny Limbo at Pyramid Eye Studios in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, in late 1979. It was Sonny who suggested that we call ourselves “Toronto”. His rationale was that, to many Americans, Toronto had a mythical and somewhat exotic reputation, and the name would be a good-vibes ambassador for the band.

The resulting sound from these demos led Dixon – Propas Productions to take the next big step of creating Solid Gold Records to release our first album, “Looking For Trouble”, which was produced by the team of Brian McLeod and Bill Henderson at Eastern Sound in Toronto.

Released in early 1980, the first single, “Even the Score”, steadily climbed the charts, leading to Toronto being signed to the prestigious A&M label in the U.S. Toronto hit the road for multiple tours across Canada and the U.S. to support the album, sharing the stage with international bands like Journey, Nazareth, Ted Nugent, Foreigner, Cheap Trick, and Robert Palmer. The album achieved Gold, and then Platinum status in Canada. We were proud to be presented those awards in front of Toronto City Hall!

Touring left little time for writing. Nonetheless, the four of us were able to create material for our second album, “Head On”, which was released at the end of 1980. In the Producer’s chair this time was Terry Brown (Rush, Max Webster, Jimi Hendrix) and the studio was the legendary Morin Heights in Quebec. For us, this was a level-changing experience with both the producer and the environment. If you listen closely to the intro of the track “Enough Is Enough”, you will hear Scott’s haunting synth lick echoing off the wooded hills across the lake from the studio. With extensive touring and Solid Gold’s promotion, we produced yet another Platinum-selling album and received a Juno Award nomination in 1981 for “Most Promising Group of the Year”.

A shift in direction for the third album led to the departure of Jim Fox and Nick Costello. The core members – Holly, Sheron, Scott and Brian – chose to hire supporting musicians from this point forward. Bassist Gary Lalonde and drummer Barry Connors were signed to be the supporting rhythm section for the upcoming third album, “Get It On Credit”.

Returning to Eastern Sound with Producer Steve Smith (Robert Palmer), we began writing and rehearsing for the “Get It On Credit” album, to be released in 1982. We were joined by Jim Vallance (Prism, Bryan Adams, Aerosmith….) to help as arranger, who also co-wrote a few songs with us. Over 20 songs were whittled down to the eventual 10 by a ranked ballot, with votes cast by the 4 band members, plus Neill Dixon and Steve Propas. When the ballots were counted, sitting just outside the final 10 was a song titled, “What About Love”, which we all liked, but most felt it didn’t seem to fit the overall style of the emerging repertoire. The song, written by Sheron Alton, Brian Allen and Jim Vallance, was a Top 10 hit for “Heart” in 1985.

In 1982, Holly was presented the Technics All-Star Band Juno Award for Best Female Vocalist. Others named to the All-Star Band included Alex Lifeson, Brian MacLeod, Moe Koffman, Mark Hasselbach and Geddy Lee.

Our third Platinum album featured the Top 5 single, “Your Daddy Don’t Know” (hitting #77 in the U.S. and Top 5 in Canada) and the Top 20 single, “Start Tellin’ The Truth”. “Your Daddy Don’t Know”, written by Geoff Iwamoto and Michael Roth, was nominated for a Juno Award in 1983 for Composer(s) of the Year. Two more singles were released from the album (“Don’t Walk Away” and “Get It On Credit”), making it clear that “Toronto” had become more than a city name.

In keeping with picking song titles as album titles, our fourth album, “Girls Night Out”, released in 1983, again had Steve Smith as producer, with Jim Vallance returning as co-writer and co-arranger. Mike Gingrich was added on bass for the album and resulting tours.

The album’s namesake single made the Top 20 and “All I Need” and “Ready To Make Up” climbed solidly into the Top 40, earning us our fourth Platinum album. In 1984, Holly Woods was deservedly nominated for a Juno for “Female Vocalist of the Year” and our touring schedule was now busier than ever.

However, the breakneck touring pace, lack of sleep and constant distractions contributed to frayed nerves and yet another examination of purpose. At that time the band fractured down the middle – Sheron and Brian departed in 1984. Scott and Holly continued, but out of respect, the new venture was renamed “Holly Woods and Toronto”.

Toronto’s music continues to Rock On and who know what the future has in store!

Purchase Toronto albums by clicking HERE.