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This is the summer of Toto’s “Africa.” Here’s why.

Thirty-six years ago, Toto released their IV their (surprise!) fourth album. Tucked away at the end of side two was “Africa,” a co-write between drummer Jeff Porcaro (later to die in a bizarre gardening accident that turned out to be not-so-bizarre) and vocalist Bobby Kimball (who is still with us).

The song was a solid hit, going gold or platinum in half a dozen countries even though Toto considered it inferior to “Rosanna,” the big single from the album.

The summer of 2018 has turned all that on its head as “Africa” has become an unlikely meme-worthy hit, thanks to:

1. Weezer’s cover

What began as a dare from a 14-year-old fan named Mary and a troll of that fan by the band has unexpectedly turned into Weezer’s biggest hit in a decade.

2. Weezer’s milking of their cover

Seen this performance of Weezer performing the song with Weird Al?

3. How about a black metal version of the song?

No problem. One appeared this week.

4. Toto returning the favour

Toto is on tour (playing “Africa,” of course) but they’re also performing Weezer’s “Hashpipe” as a thank you.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38300 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “This is the summer of Toto’s “Africa.” Here’s why.

  • I know this is likely a typo on the author’s part but the keyboardist is Dave Paich, not Bobby Kimball. Kimball was one of 3 lead vocalists in Toto. For Africa Paich sings the verse vocals, Kimball sings the chorus’. Kimball was fired after this album but would return 20yrs later for a few years before leaving again. One final note, though all members of Toto would contribute songs over the years, David Paich would write the majority of the tunes for the first 10years.


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