Africa – Toto

THIS DAY IN MUSIC……………………………….on February 5th of 1983 after cracking the US Top 10 in 1978 with “Hold The Line” (#5) and again in 1982 with “Rosanna” (#2), Toto has their first and only Billboard #1 hit with “Africa”. Over the next five years, they would reach the Top 40 five more times. Toto keyboard player David Paich wrote the song, and explained in the liner notes of Toto’s Best Ballads compilation: “At the beginning of the ’80s I watched a late night documentary on TV about all the terrible death and suffering of the people in Africa. It both moved and appalled me and the pictures just wouldn’t leave my head. I tried to imagine how I’d feel about if I was there and what I’d do.” Paich had never been to Africa when he wrote the song. Toto IV won a Grammy for Album of the Year, but voters didn’t nominate “Africa” for either Record of the Year or Song of the Year; they preferred “Rosanna,” which was nominated in both categories and won for Record of the Year. This is probably Toto’s most famous song, but their guitarist Steve Lukather would like you to know that there is much more to the band: Toto were top studio musicians before forming the group, and known as some of the best in the business. Lukather told Rock’s Backpages: “A lot of people categorize us as ‘that ‘Africa’ or ‘Rosanna’ band,’ and I hate that s–t. We have a lot more substance than that. Don’t get me wrong – those songs have been great to us, but you really don’t understand the depth of the band if that’s all you know. In the UK, this was issued as a limited-edition picture disc shaped like the continent of Africa. The gimmick helped send the song to #3, making it their biggest hit in Britain.