Who wrote the song Africa

An oldie hit goes viral : The strange internet hype of the Toto song "Africa"

They are the first notes. Or: the second, at the beginning there is the beat. Percussion. A cowbell. But then this keyboard kicks in: "Daa da da da da daaa", it rolls while a second line creeps up from behind. She dabs her own melody over it, more like "Di di di di, di di di di."

Once you've heard that, you can't forget it, and we haven't even talked about the chorus, about this line, “I bless the rains down in Africa”. Have not yet reported about the drum breaks and the guitar, which at first holds back so much to give the listener a nudge. Without a doubt: "Africa", first published in 1982 on the Toto album "IV", has a lot of elements that function according to the textbook of pop. They only need two or three runs to get stuck in the head of the listener. And they stay there.

In the year of its creation there are many songs that are blessed with similar qualities. "Eye Of The Tiger" from Survivor, "Centerfold" from the J. Geils Band or "Don't You Want Me" from The Human League. They may still be frequent guests on mainstream radio, but there is something crucial separating them from “Africa”: the song unexpectedly picked up speed a few years ago, suddenly becoming popular again. What at first looked like a chain of small coincidences unfolded a force that is rarely seen in pop.

A cover version from the pizzeria

“Africa” became the favorite song of the Internet generation. It is completely impossible to determine how this started. Some say: with “Stranger Things”: The makers of the American coming-of-age series put the song on the soundtrack of the first season in 2016.

The roots of the Internet enthusiasm go back further: in 2010, the Youtuber Mike Massé published a cover version that he recorded with a friend in a pizzeria in the US state of Utah. Already before "Stranger Things" it collected millions of views. A choir version followed two years later, and it too became a hit. And on Reddit, the most important discussion forum on the Internet, a separate thread on the song was opened in 2015.

"Stranger Things" may have served as a fire accelerator, because it was probably the cause of a request that a Twitter user made to one of her favorite bands in December 2017: "It's about time you bless the rains down in Africa" ​​wrote the 14-year-old Mary Klym from Cleveland, Ohio under the account name @weezerafrica to Weezer singer Rivers Cuomo. The tweet was shared hundreds of times.

The American alternative band finally had an understanding in May 2018. After a little joke - at first they put a version of the completely uninteresting other Toto hit, "Rosanna" online - they published their "Africa". This gave the band, traditionally scolded by pop critics, a second spring, which resulted in an entire album with cover versions.

Toto, who performed this Sunday in the Spandau Citadel, returned the favor by replaying the Weezer single "Hash Pipe".

The visual language of the video is strange

The latest entry in the “Africa” journal: The artist Max Siedentopf set up an installation made up of six boxes and an MP3 player in the Namibian desert. It is solar powered and broadcasts “Africa” in an endless loop. "Africa" ​​in Africa.

This is especially funny because the author of the song had no knowledge of the continent: Toto keyboardist David Paich wrote “Africa” out of regret about the situation on the continent. He later said in an interview that he was inspired by an article in National Geographic when it came to describing the landscape. He had never been there.

The chorus line "I bless the rains down in Africa" ​​is based on his school days - several teachers did missionary work. Finally he mixed up something like a love story. The result: loads of crooked images and a geographical layout that would make any geography teacher pale.

Now the nice thing about pop music is that it can do without high school diplomas. She creates her own realities. A closer look at the text and the video, to which the hysteria of the last few years inevitably led, showed something else: the drums, the echoes of which waft through the desert.

The old, wise man whom the protagonist stops to quickly grab "some old forgotten words". The video in which the insignia of western civilization (books) are evidently so little valued by a local that he attacks them with his spear: None of this is meant to be racist. But at least from a contemporary reading, it seems extremely strange. Nevertheless, the clip received more than 506 million clicks on YouTube alone.

The DJ puts on "Africa" ​​and the party explodes

How omnipresent and popular “Africa” is now can be seen recently at a party at the Schlesisches Tor. Young people celebrated a farewell. It was a pleasant party, mostly hip-hop, which led to well-kept boredom - when the DJ "Africa" ​​put on the turbo, it was the turbo that made the evening escalate.

[Concert: Spandau Citadel, June 30th, 7.30 p.m.]

In a small mountain town in the Apennines, “Africa” could be heard from the boxes of the only café in the area, combined with the sound of the television, the hum of a housefly and a courageous counter discussion about the summer sound wallpaper.

In none of those moments did it seem strange. Rather, it is like this: You have got used to "Africa". One waits for "Africa", just as one expects thunderstorms on hot summer days. It's not just a pop song. It's the pop song. That such a thing can happen in times of maximum abundance is amazing.

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