Toto - Africa




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 on 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.






Lyrics


I hear the drums echoing tonight

But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation

She's coming in, 12: 30 flight

The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation

I stopped an old man along the way

Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies

He turned to me as if to say, "Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you"


It's gonna take a lot to take me away from you

There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do

I bless the rains down in Africa

Gonna take some time to do the things we never had



The wild dogs cry out in the night

As they grow restless, longing for some solitary company

I know that I must do what's right

As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti

I seek to cure what's deep inside, frightened of this thing that I've become


It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you

There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do

I bless the rains down in Africa

Gonna take some time to do the things we never had


Hurry boy, she's waiting there for you



It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you

There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do

I bless the rains down in Africa

I bless the rains down in Africa

(I bless the rain)

I bless the rains down in Africa

(I bless the rain)

I bless the rains down in Africa

I bless the rains down in Africa

(Ah, gonna take the time)

Gonna take some time to do the things we never had