Steve Lukather Reflects On Why Toto’s ‘Africa’ Became A Hit Song

Toto guitarist and vocalist Steve Lukather opened up about the success of the band’s legendary song, ‘Africa‘ during a recent interview with 13th Floor MusicTalk. Apparently, none of the members of the band expected the track to be this immensely successful while they were recording it for their album ‘Toto IV.’

As many of you know, ‘Africa‘ is the tenth and final track on Toto’s fourth studio album ‘Toto IV,’ which was released on April 8, 1982.  The song was written by band members David Paich and Jeff Porcaro, produced by the band, and mixed by Grammy-winning engineer Elliot Scheiner. The record received six Grammy Awards in 1983 and reached number four on the Billboard 200 album charts in the United States in addition to reaching the top ten in other countries shortly after its release.

While the record’s lead single ‘Rosanna’ peaked at number 2 for five weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts along with the success of other singles, it was the album’s third single, ‘Africathat pretty much slain every chart all around the world. Both music critics and fans praised the track as it reached number one on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart, number one on the Canadian charts, and peaked in the top ten in numerous other countries as well.

During a recent interview, Steve Lukather was asked about this masterpiece and if Toto members expected their track to be this globally and enormously thriving. According to the musician, none of the band members thought ‘Africa’ was going to be a hit song despite loving it during the recording sessions.

Furthermore, Toto singer revealed that the band members fell in love with the melody of ‘Africa’ during the creation of the song, however, its lyrics which were written at the last minute are pretty funny and silly. According to Lukather, this might be the reason why people loved it or hate it some much since it’s not another song about love or politics with heavy lyrics, ‘Africa’ is just a happy and fun song with a catchy tune.

Steve Lukather’s statement during the interview follows:

We never thought for a second that one is going to be a hit. We loved the track, we didn’t write the lyrics until the track was done.

We had a melody that we thought was catchy as fuck and the lyrics are ridiculous. I think the fact that it is not political or another love song, it’s just a silly little song, it has a groove, makes people happy, and a really catchy melody.

Some people hate it for that. But for some people, it’s connecting. Other bands played it at soundchecks and the whole audience starts singing. Nobody is more surprised as we are.”

You can listen to ‘Africa’ by Toto and watch the whole interview below.