♫ Africa ♫

If you say, “Toto” to me, I will immediately think of the little doggie in the movie, The Wizard of Oz.  If you remind me that you mean the band, Toto, only one song will come to mind … Africa.  It is, to me, their signature song, the only one I can name of theirs.

‘Twasn’t always so, though, and the song almost didn’t even get recorded.  In an article in Time magazine, one of the group members said they were looking for a song just to close off the album and did not think Africa would do as well as it did. They also mentioned that if you listen close enough during the lyrics “catch some waves,” some group members were singing “catch some rays.”

Toto keyboard player David Paich wrote the song …

“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.

There’s a little metaphor involved here, because I was at the age where I was so immersed in my work, 24/7, that at times I felt like I was becoming just a victim of my work. There was a little bit of autobiographical information in there: being consumed by my work, not having time to go out and pursue getting married and raising a family and doing all the things that other people do that were my age at the time.”

This is probably Toto’s most famous song, but per guitarist Steve Lukather …

“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.

According to an article in Rolling Stone in October 2018 …

“Nothing sums up 2018 like the fact that Toto’s “Africa” has become our unofficial anthem. It’s a song that’s ridiculous by definition — an Eighties ode to Africa by a bunch of L.A. rock dudes who’d never set foot in the place. But something about this song speaks to our moment. It’s the new “Don’t Stop Believin’” — a mega-cheese classic of Eighties sentiment that’s gotten bizarrely popular in recent years, beloved by hipsters and moms and tone-deaf karaoke singers screaming “I bless the rains down in Africa!” Love it or hate it, you’ve probably heard it today. You’ll hear it tomorrow. This damn song follows you everywhere, like the sound of wild dogs crying out in the night.”

Africa
Toto

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
I stopped an old man along the way
Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies
He turned to me as if to say, “Hurry boy, it’s waiting there for you”

It’s 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

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless, longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what’s right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve become

It’s gonna take a lot to drag 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

Hurry boy, she’s waiting there for you

It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa
(I bless the rain)
I bless the rains down in Africa
(I bless the rain)
I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa
(Ah, gonna take the time)
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

Songwriters: David Paich / Jeff Porcaro
Africa lyrics © Spirit Music Group

33 thoughts on “♫ Africa ♫

  1. The signature song for the group Toto , “Africa'” has a sentimental value for me. I was in my teens and it was an age of innocence for me. Ironically”Toto” was s derogatory description for the the female genitalia back then😎🤨

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  2. When you say “Toto” to me, I go back to their first 1978 eponymous album that I purchased only because it contained “Child’s Anthem and “Hold the Line”. Or the 80’s album, Farenheit, that contained my favorite “I’ll Be Over You” and “Could This Be Love”. Or onto the 1988 album, The Seventh One, that has “A Thousand Years” and “Only the Children”. I’d even go to their later album, Tambu, with the beautiful “I Will Remember” but…contrary to popular choice, never to “Africa” on the 1982 album,Toto IV, that includes the hit “Rosanna” among others. It just never spoke to me! Thank-you!

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  3. It is a catchy tune. I’m more a fan of songs with lyrics that tell a story. Never quite understood thing one though. I always wondered what Mt Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti had to do with anything. Thanks for the background info. In a way its good knowing that is not supposed to make much sense to the general public.

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  4. Toto IV is an excellent album. I was stationed at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, when it was released. We used to go camping at a beach called Okuma. It was one of our favorite albums to enjoy while sitting around a campfire contemplating the world.

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  5. A fantastic melody, though mostly the words make no sense to me. Am I out of tune with the world? No matter, I didn’t catch any waves or Ray’s. But I probably caught enough words to have them echo in my brain for the next week or two. “I’ll bless the rains”???

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