Toto–Africa (1982)

How Toto's most famous hit of the 80s was created

Toto – Africa (1982): song history

"Africa" is a song recorded by American rock band Toto in 1982. "Africa" describes the predicament of a guy who has to choose between two "loves": the continent of Africa and the girl he finds there.

Songwriter David Paich (Toto's keyboardist and vocalist) said he was inspired to write the song when he watched a documentary about "death and suffering" (about the lives of people in Africa) in the early 80s. According to Paich, the terrible images of suffering remained in his head for a very long time, forcing him to imagine what he would feel and what he would do if he were there himself.

Toto group
Toto group

"Africa" actually has a number of interpretations, one of which is an invitation to immerse yourself in that terrible atmosphere (as it was in Africa at the time of writing the song), try to decide, figure out what to do and maybe help those people.

In a 2015 interview, Paich revealed that the song is about a man's deep love for Africa. Three years later, the songwriter described the song as a song about someone who flies to a distant land to meet a lonely missionary. By the way, having matured, Paich entered a Catholic school, and many teachers in his school often traveled to Africa, where they worked as missionaries. These feelings are expressed in the words "I bless the rains in Africa."

The line "I'm looking for a cure for what is hidden deep inside, fearing what I have become" reflects a personal reflection in which the singer sees the need to take a break from work and make time for other important things in life.

Peitsch himself deciphered the meaning of this line. In an interview, Paich said that at the time of writing the song, there was a period in his life when he devoted himself completely to his musical career. He felt that he was becoming a victim of his work. He noticed that he couldn't focus on the important things in life that people of his age do, such as getting married and starting a family.

The word "Kilimanjaro" in the line "It is unshakable, like Kilimanjaro, like Olympus towering over the Serengeti" ... Mount Kilimanjaro is located in Tanzania. On the other hand, "Serengeti" refers to the Serengeti ecosystem, which is one of the seven natural wonders of Africa. The Serengeti is found in Tanzania and Kenya. As for the "Olympus", it is the highest mountain in Greece. Therefore, given the fact that Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti are located in the same region (the northern part of Tanzania), the writer / author has the right to call Kilimanjaro towering over the Serengeti.

Toto File Photos

Facts about the song "Africa"

  • "Africa" was written by David Paich and noted American drummer, songwriter and music producer Jeff Porcaro.
  • Porcaro died at the premature age of 38 from a heart attack caused by cocaine use. His tragic death occurred on August 5, 1992 (about 9 years after the liberation of Africa). In 1993, he was honored posthumously inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.
  • At the time of writing the song, none of the authors was on the African continent.
    The track's production was handled by Toto.
  • The song was officially released in Europe on May 10, 1982 and in the US on October 30, 1982 as the third single from the band's fourth studio album titled Toto IV, which won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1983.
  • Instead of Toto vocalist Joseph Williams, Paich provided vocals on the track, making it one of the few Toto songs on which he sang himself.
  • "Africa" became Toto's first No. 1 hit. To date, the song is the group's only No. 1 hit.
  • The track peaked at #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • The track was one of the most famous and successful worldwide hits of the 1980s. Toto Members Say They Never Expected The Song To Be So Successful
  • The music video for "Africa" was directed by renowned Irish filmmaker and music video director Steve Barron. In the music industry, Barron is known for directing hit music videos such as Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean", a-ha's "Take on Me" and Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing". He also directed Toto's global hit "Rosanne" in 1982.
  • Despite being a major worldwide hit, "Africa" never won a Grammy. However, the album (Toto IV) on which the track appeared won 6 Grammy Awards at the 1983 Grammy Awards, including the "Best Album of the Year" Grammy. The album's lead single "Rosanna" also won a Grammy in 1983.
  • Which musicians performed "Africa"? Since the song was released in 1982, it has been sampled by several artists including rapper Nas and singer JoJo. One of the most notable is the 2003 hit "Murder Reigns" by American rapper Ja Rule.
  • What genre of music does Africa belong to? This is a soft rock/light rock song.
  • One of the most famous covers was released by the American rock band Weezer. The band released a cover of the song on May 29, 2018, after a 14-year-old female fan launched a social media campaign in December 2017 to convince the band to write the song.

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