Africa ~ Toto

totoToto is an American rock band formed in 1977 in Los Angeles, California.

The members of Toto were regulars on albums by Steely Dan, Seals and Crofts, Boz Scaggs, Sonny and Cher, and many others, contributing to many of the most popular records of the 1970s. Keyboardist David Paich, son of musician and sessions player/arranger Marty Paich, rose to fame after having co-written much of Scaggs’s Silk Degrees album. Having played on many sessions with drummer Jeff Porcaro (the son of noted session percussionist Joe Porcaro), whom he met while attending Grant High School in North Hollywood, California where they formed the band Rural Still Life, Paich began to discuss seriously with Porcaro the possibility of their forming their own band. They brought in bassist and fellow session vet David Hungate, having played with him on the road with Boz Scaggs. In addition, the duo asked guitarist Steve Lukather (who also played in Scaggs’s band as a replacement for Les Dudek) and Jeff Porcaro’s brother Steve Porcaro(keyboards) to join the team. Lukather and Steve Porcaro were high school classmates, and continued the band Rural Still Life (the name shortened to Still Life) after Paich and Jeff graduated. With the addition of former S.S. Fools singer Bobby Kimball, the group began to work on their first album in 1977 after signing with Columbia Records.

Once the band came together, David Paich began composing what would become the eponymous debut album, Toto. According to popular myth, at the first recording sessions, in order to distinguish their own demo tapes from other bands’ in the studio, Jeff Porcaro wrote the word “Toto” on them. In the early 1980s, band members told the press that the band was named after the dog in The Wizard of Oz. One popular rumor is that the name came from Bobby Kimball’s “true” last name, Toteaux. This rumor was in fact only a joke popularized by former bassist David Hungate. After the completion of the first album, the band and record were still unnamed. David Hungate, after viewing the name on the demo tapes, explained to the group that the word “Toto” in Latin translated to “all-encompassing.” Because the band members played on so many different records and many different musical genres, they adopted the name “Toto” as their own.

On December 15, 1981, Bobby Kimball was arrested for allegedly selling cocaine to an undercover police officer.

1982 marked the beginning of Toto’s most successful era. After the disappointing sales of Turn Back, the band was under a great deal of pressure from the record company to produce a new smash record. With Toto IV, the band delivered one of the most commercially successful records of the 80s.

Subsequent to the Toto IV release, bassist David Hungate left the band. Hungate, who had relocated to Nashville in 1982 to pursue a session/production career, felt that the fame surrounding Toto IV would prevent him from spending time with his family. Mike Porcaro replaced him on bass and appeared in all the music videos for Toto IV. Lead singer Bobby Kimball spent the early part of 1983 facing prosecution for drug related charges. Kimball was ordered to stand trial, but pled not guilty. The charges were dismissed on May 28 of that year. Kimball was fired from the band in 1984.

The lineup for Toto has seen many changes over the years.   The band’s current lineup consists of Joseph Williams (lead vocals), David Paich(keyboards), Steve Porcaro (keyboards), Steve Lukather (guitars, vocals), and Simon Phillips (drums). Bass player Nathan East is currently touring with Toto as a guest musician, as Mike Porcaro is too ill to tour.

Africa

Africa” is a song by rock band Toto, and one of the band’s most recognizable songs.

The initial idea for the song came from David Paich. Jeff Porcaro explained 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 said: “At the beginning of the ’80s 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.”

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 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

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
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

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
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

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 rains down in Africa, I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

Play 
  • Audio from the 1982 album, Toto IV:

toto-iv
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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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