The Son of John Williams Totally Rocks

L-R: Toto's Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams
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Greetsia Tent/WireImage

Film composer John Williams has been making music history for some six decades. He's been nominated for more Oscars than anyone currently alive (52 nominations and five wins) and has written some of the most memorable themes for the movies, from JAWS and Star Wars to Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

It's not a surprise, then, to find out that talent runs in his family! His son Joseph is an accomplished singer who made a few marks on the soundscape of the '80s.

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When Joseph was starting his career as a 22-year-old vocalist, he was commissioned by his dad to write lyrics to a song John recorded for a film. Granted, there already were lyrics - just in a completely made-up alien language. That's right: "Lapti Nek," the song sung by the band at Jabba the Hutt's palace in Return of the Jedi (the 1983 closer to the Star Wars trilogy) became "Work It Out," a silly-if-catchy tune about dancing. "Lapti Nek" was unbelievably released to dance clubs that year, and Joseph also put together a studio band called Urth to record a version himself.

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Joseph's most notable work in the '80s occurred when he was called in as the third vocalist in the smooth rock band Toto. After scoring immortal '80s hits like "Africa" and "Rosanna" in the early '80s, a follow-up smash was harder to come by. That changed when Williams joined the group: though he did not sing lead on "I'll Be Over You," a warm, keyboard-driven ballad with a vocal cameo from yacht rock icon Michael McDonald, he was a key part of the group's sound by this point. The track became their biggest hit in three years. Williams would sing lead on two Toto albums in the '80s, Fahrenheit (1986) and The Seventh One (1988), and rejoined the band in the 2010s, where he sings to this day.

But Toto's not the only place '80s babies could hear him. An accomplished session singer, Joseph's done some key work for Disney. His vocals powered the catchy theme for the cartoon series The Adventures of the Gummi Bears, and he can also be heard as the singing voice of Simba in the 1994 blockbuster The Lion King, where he lent his vocals to unforgettable Elton John-penned songs "Hakuna Matata" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight."

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