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Africa

Jeff Porcaro, David Paich

Africa - Jeff Porcaro, David Paich

Length

2:29

Level

Intermediate
"Africa" is a song by American rock band Toto, the tenth and final track on their fourth studio album Toto IV (1982). The initial idea and lyrics for the song came from David Paich. Paich was playing around with a new keyboard, the CS-80, and found the brassy sound that became the opening riff. He completed the melody and lyrics for the chorus in about ten minutes, much to Paich's surprise. "I sang the chorus out as you hear it. It was like God channeling it. I thought, 'I'm talented, but I'm not that talented. Something just happened here!'" Paich reckons that he refined the lyrics for six months before showing the song to the rest of the band. In 2015, Paich explained that the song is about a man's love of a continent, Africa, rather than just a personal romance. He based the lyrics off a late night documentary with depictions of African plight and suffering. The viewing experience made a lasting impact on Paich: "It both moved and appalled me, and the pictures just wouldn't leave my head. I tried to imagine how I'd feel about it if I was there and what I'd do." Jeff Porcaro elaborates further, explaining: "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." Some additional lyrics relate to a person flying in to meet a lonely missionary, as Paich described in 2018. As a child, Paich attended a Catholic school; several of his teachers had done missionary work in Africa. Their missionary work became the inspiration behind the line: "I bless the rains down in Africa." Paich, who at the time had never set foot in Africa, based the song's landscape descriptions from an article in National Geographic.

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