"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 because it was so different. I thought I’d save it… 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."
"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.
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