Africa (4:20)

Cover of Past to Present 1977-1990

From Past to Present 1977-1990 and 428 other releases

The song was included on their 1982 album Toto IV, and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in February 1983 and number three on the UK Singles Chart the same month. The song was written by the band’s keyboardist David Paich, who also sings both verses of the song, and drummer Jeff Porcaro. Bobby Kimball sings the chorus.

The song almost cut from the Toto IV record prior to its release. Having spent an incredible amount of time producing the tune, the band became so tired of the song that they didn’t want it on the album. The song itself was very different from anything the band had done before, and some members felt that it didn’t sound like Toto.

“I didn’t think it was very good,” said Steve Lukather (Classic Rock Revisited, 2003). “That tells you what can happen when we pick our own singles!”

David Paich, who co-wrote the song with Jeff Porcaro, said that it “could have been the beginning of a solo project because it was so different. I thought I’d save it… World Music wasn’t around then.”

The initial idea for the song came from David Paich, playing on his piano. Jeff explains the idea behind the song: “… a white boy is trying to write a song on Africa, but since he’s never been there, he can only tell what he’s seen on TV or remembers in the past.”

Musically the song took quite some time to assemble, as David and Jeff explain below.


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I hear the drums echoing tonight
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
She's coming in, 12:30 flight
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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