What makes a music legend? Perhaps it's the ability to leave aninimitable, lasting imprint on the world. By that definition, Tony Toni Tone's contribution to music is most certainly legendary: a group regarded the world over as a talented, authentic group of musicians who made some of the best R&B music of the 80's and 90's. From fun, upbeat, smash hits like "Feels Good," to blues-leaning classics like "The Blues" to their signature love ballads like "Anniversary," the sound of Tony Toni Tone is soulful, organic, classic, and instantly recognizable.Their ability to create songs that perfectly married the stylings of the soul and funk gods of the 70's with the technology and hip-hop infused R&B of the 90s made them icons of their generation.
The story of Tony Toni Tone began in Oakland, California in the 1970's, where brothers D'Wayne Wiggins and Raphael Saadiq (born Charles Ray Wiggins) grew up, under the musical guidance of their father, blues guitarist Charlie Wiggins. The San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970's was a fertile ground of blues, jazz, R&B, rock, and funk music from legendary artists like Sly Stone, Larry Graham, and Tower of Power. That close proximity to music royalty and a lush and inspiring soundtrack, combined with the political and social movements the Bay Area was teeming with during the 1970s, gave D'Wayne and Raphael a music education ripe with backyard jams, activism, and big dreams.
Tony Toni Tone officially formed in 1986 and included D'Wayne on lead vocals and guitar, Raphael on lead vocals and bass, and their cousin, Timothy Christian Riley, on drums and keyboards. With the help of dream production and songwriting team Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy, the Tony's set out to make their musical mark on the world. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The group released five albums in all, including Who? (1988), The Revival (1990), Sons of Soul (1993), House of Music (1996), and Hits (1997). After their debut album, the trio quickly expanded their roles as singers and musicians to songwriters and producers of their music, leading to their distinctive sound and timeless songs that remain in rotation on radio stations today.
The Tony's stats are impressive by any music industry standards, past or present: 14 Billboard-charting R&B singles; including five number one hits, and three top ten pop singles, one gold album, two platinum albums and one double platinum album, and over six million albums sold.
D'Wayne, Tim, and Amar continue to perform to packed houses throughout the world. Recent shows included a performance at Wembley Stadium in London. Whether they're performing at an intimate venue or a huge arena, every show is filled with enthusiastic audiences who come to experience Tony Toni Tone's unique brand of classic, enduring music, which they've been serving to loyal fans for 27 years and counting.
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