Steve Lukather Says ‘Africa’ Was The Weirdest Tune Toto Ever Did
Toto guitarist and founding member Steve Lukather recently spoke to VintageRock Pod for an interview and revealed his thoughts on how Toto achieved fame with their song ‘Africa.’
The band’s self-titled debut album achieved significant commercial success, but their fourth album ‘Toto IV’ was the one that helped them reach a worldwide audience. Released in the spring of 1982, ‘Toto IV’ featured the chart-topper hits ‘Africa’ and ‘Rosanna.’
‘Africa’ was written by David Paich and Jeff Porcaro, and the song received massive praise from music critics for its composition. The track was also a chart success in the States and Canada. The song was viral in the 1980s and 1990s but rose in popularity once again via social media and a cover of Weezer during the mid-to-late 2010s.
In a recent interview with VintageRock Pod, Steve Lukather touched upon ‘Africa’s success. The guitarist said that some of their fans call them ‘that ‘Africa’ band’ and admitted it was the weirdest song they ever did. Lukather then added that he and his bandmates were proud of the song’s success; although it wasn’t a hit song, they put lots of effort into writing and recording. According to Lukather, Toto isn’t all about ‘Africa,’ and they have other songs that deserve praise.
Steve Lukather then stated they wrote ‘Africa’ because they wanted ‘something a little more muso’ but still with great vocals. As the guitarist recalled, all Toto members brought in pieces and put them together while writing the song. Moreover, he argued that they did the same thing in the song ‘Better World’ from their 1999 album ‘Mindfields.’ Lukather stated they all wrote different sections and ultimately put them together.
During the conversation, Steve Lukather said the following:
“Most people go ‘Oh, that ‘Africa’ band,’ To us, that’s like ‘Wow, man, that’s the weirdest tune we ever did.’ If that’s what you think the whole band is all about, I love to show another side. Yeah, you could probably get a hold of that somewhere on the Internet. We were proud of how that came out, and it’s not a hit song that everybody knows. It’s something that we just were writing and recording.”
Recalling the writing and recording process of ‘Africa,’ Lukather continued:
“It was something that we said, ‘Okay, we’re gonna write something a little bit more muso.’ But we still wanted to have the connection to vocals and stuff. So, everybody brought pieces, and we put it all together and made it work. We’ve done that process many times on the so-called ‘Better World’ of one of our albums that Dave, I, and Simon wrote.
We wrote different sections of the song and just put it together. I wrote the lyrics and sang the song, but other than that, there is a lot of stuff we’ve got. Fourteen, fifteen, or sixteen records — there’s a lot of music to choose from.”
You can watch the rest of the interview and listen to Toto’s ‘Africa’ below.