Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Africa" by Toto

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  1232
Date:  10/30/1982
Debut:  75
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  Toto's album "Toto IV" started off with the band's second Top 10 hit, "Rosanna," which spent five weeks at #2. Unfortunately, the LP's second single became a bump in the road when "Make Believe" could only muster a #30 showing. Luckily for them, they had this next single in the queue and it ended up being their first (and only) #1 hit. Before this single was issued, the album had fallen out of the Top 10 and was quickly fading. The success of this song regenerated interest in the LP and it bounded back into the Top 10.

ReduxReview:  This song really stood out on radio. There was nothing like it at the time. The wailing chorus, rhythms, and nonsensical lyrics all added up to something different and unique. I totally bought into it and the 45 quickly became a favorite. I think it still holds up and runs neck-and-neck as my favorite Toto song with "Rosanna." Of course we wanted to sing along with this song so we had to try and figure out the lyrics. But the line "sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti" totally threw us off. I think we thought it was "rises like an empress above the Saragayee," and we had no idea what or where Saragayee was. Ah yes, the days before the internet provided you will all this info.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  This song almost did not make the album. At the time, co-writer and band member Steve Lukather didn't really like the song and though it didn't fit well with the other tracks on the album. But they were in need of a closing song and a label guy at CBS convinced them to add the song saying that it would be a hit. Toto reluctantly agreed and to their surprise, it became a major hit around the world.


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