SONG REVIEW: AFRICA (1982)
Written by: David Paich and Jeff Porcaro
Performed by: Toto from the album “Toto IV” (Grammy Album of the Year-1982)
“Africa” by Toto is one of my all-time favorite songs. I first heard this song on Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 when it was slowly climbing the charts (it hit the top after a long climb and it’s what you call a slow burner) and instantly fell in love with the song. I was immediately attracted to the beat, the vocals and the arrangement. I have tried many times to analyze the lyrics and what the song is about but could not really make out its real meaning. According to co-writer David Paich, the song is basically about a man’s love for Africa.
The song starts slowly and escalates into an explosive, anthemic chorus with layered harmonies “gonna take a lot to take me away from you, there’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do, I bless the rains down in Africa, gonna take some time to do the things we never had.” Never have I heard such urgency in a song’s chorus. I also love the driving drum loops, the congas and marimbas which make you feel that you are in Africa. I just love the ethnic, rhythmic vibe of this song which has encouraged me to visit Africa in the future as part of my bucket list.
Toto is an American rock band formed in 1976 in Los Angeles, California by session musicians, David Paich and Jeff Porcaro. They co-wrote their no. 1 song “Africa.”
Current members: Steve Lukather, David Paich, Steve Porcaro and Joseph Williams. Past members: Bobby Kimball, David Hungate, Jeff Porcaro, Mike Porcaro, Fergie Frederiksen, Jean-Michel Byron, Simon Phillips, Greg Phillinganes and Keith Carlock (Source: Wikipedia)
Interesting Facts About Africa:
1. Video directed by Steve Barron (300 Million views so far on YouTube);
2. Chart position: US No. 1 (Billboard Hot 100 – peaked February 1983); UK No. 3 (UK Charts); Canada No. 1;
3. Sampled by artists Ja Rule, JoJo, Karl Wolf, Daniel Lopatin, Jason Derulo and Bacall & Malo;
4. Covered by artists Quietdrive, Relient K, Chaos Divine, Affiance, Metal, and Ninja Sex Party;
5. Notably used in popular culture like ads, video games, commercials and TV shows.