Love it or hate it, Toto's 1982 soft rock mega-hit "Africa" is here to stay. But how did a band from Los Angeles get famous for a song about Africa?
Dave Simpson of The Guardian recently interviewed the song's writer (and vocalist) David Paich and found out:
One of the reasons I was in a rock band was to see the world. As a kid, I’d always been fascinated by Africa. I loved movies about Dr Livingstone and missionaries. I went to an all-boys Catholic school and a lot of the teachers had done missionary work in Africa. They told me how they would bless the villagers, their Bibles, their books, their crops and, when it rained, they’d bless the rain. That’s where the hook line – “I bless the rains down in Africa” – came from.
They said loneliness and celibacy were the hardest things about life out there. Some of them never made it into the priesthood because they needed companionship. So I wrote about a person flying in to meet a lonely missionary. It’s a romanticised love story about Africa, based on how I’d always imagined it. The descriptions of its beautiful landscape came from what I’d read in National Geographic.
Paich told Musicradar in 2013:
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"Its first inception came when there used to be UNICEF commercials on TV, showing children and families living in poverty. The first time I saw that it affected me deeply…
"I sat down and started playing and the chorus just came out like magic.