Billboard #1 Hits: #528: ‘Africa’- Toto. February 5, 1983. #1 for 1 week in Billboard Hot 100.
- Single: ‘Africa’- Toto
- Record Company- Columbia
- Genre: Soft Rock
- Written by David Paich and Jeff Porcaro
- Time: 4:21
- B-side: ‘Good For You’
- Album- Toto IV
- Grade: A
- Peaked at #1 1 week in Billboard Hot 100. #3 in UK Singles Chart, #1 in Canada.
I was not a fan of Toto’s -but I’ve grown over the years to like this song a lot. Now it’s going to be in my head all day long.
This song tells the story of a man who comes to Africa and must make a decision about the girl who comes to see him. He is enamored with the continent, but must leave if he is going to be with her.
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.
With introspective lyrics like, “I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve become,” we wondered if this song involved a bit of personal reflection. Turned out, it did. In our interview with David Paich, he explained: “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.”