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"Africa" is a song by rock band Toto. The song was included on their 1982 album Toto IV, and scored number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in February 1983 and number three on the UK Singles Chart the same month. The song was written by the band's keyboardist David Paich and drummer Jeff Porcaro. David Paich sings both verses of the song. Bobby Kimball, Steve Lukather and Paich sing the choruses.

Without a doubt Toto’s most recognizable song, "Africa" was almost omitted from the Toto IV record prior to its release. Having spent a great amount of time producing the tune, the band became so tired of the song that they didn’t want it on the album. The song itself was very different from anything the band had done before, and some members felt that it didn’t sound like Toto.

“I didn’t think it was very good,” said Steve Lukather (Classic Rock Revisited, 2003). “That tells you what can happen when we pick our own singles!”

David Paich, who co-wrote the song with Jeff Porcaro, said that it “could have been the beginning of a solo project [for me] because it was so different. I thought I’d save it…[because] world music wasn’t around then.”


The initial idea for the song came from David Paich, playing on his piano. Jeff explains the idea behind the song: "... 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."

David Paich says the following: "At the beginning of the 80's 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."

Musically the song took quite some time to assemble, as David and Jeff explain:

Jeff Porcaro reminisces about how the song's drum track took shape:

"Africa" was played on all of Toto's tours from its release until the band's breakup in 2008. It was sung by David Paich at the 2009 Millennium Development Goals Awards Ceremony.

Music video

The music video was directed by Steve Barron. The story is of a researcher in a library (portrayed by band member David Paich), looking for clues to a book called Africa. Many scenes include the band performing atop a stack of hardcover books.


The song has been covered in 1982 by Key of Dreams, Italo-disco style.

Singer-songwriters Howie Day and Virginia Coalition and Umphrey's McGee perform versions of "Africa" in their live shows, and the song has been a popular cover for a cappella groups. Tukuleur, a group from Africa, recorded a French-language hip hop version of the song titled Afrika.

SubAudible Hum covered this song for Triple J's Like a Version.

Belgian-born Canadian singer Lara Fabian used this song on her Nue Tour in 2001 as an interlude performance to her Nue album track "Rio" with one of her backup singers singing lead on the verses.

German band Pyogenesis covered their song in their full length album, Mono, ... or will it ever be.

American guitarist Andy McKee has recorded an instrumental version of the song on his Dreamcatcher album.

Phonte Coleman, member of the rap group Little Brother covered the song for his 80's cover album, Zo and Tigallo Love the 80's.

Chris de Burgh covered it on his 2008 covers album Footsteps.

Lowry recorded a cover of the song for Engine Room Recordings' compilation album Guilt by Association Vol. 2, which was released in November of 2008.

Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra recorded a cover the song on their 2009 release, The Dreaming EP.

Sampled on

"Africa" has been used as a sample in several songs. These include:

Artist Song
Nas New World
Ja Rule Murder Reigns
Xzibit Heart of Man
JoJo Anything
Cryzp Africa
Eric Prydz Take Me Away
Marcus Levin Take Me Away
Brazen Toto
Karl Wolf Africa
Wordz Restless
The Glitterboys Africa
Dice Raw & The Money Makin' Jam Boys

Truck North
Meaning Of Life

Popular culture

External links



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