Monday, June 7, 2010

Toto’s “Africa” is a song that, if holed up like Manuel Noriega after the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama, I would not want blasted at my window. But here I am, reading about the song and how the band almost excluded it from their Toto IV (1982) album, thinking they had polished it to death (yes), and how different it sounded from the rest of their oeuvre.

On the official Toto website, co-author David Paich relates how the song’s inspiration came from watching "a late-night television documentary" (infomerical?) on “all the terrible death and suffering of the people in Africa…how I’d feel about it if I was there, and what I’d do.” Reading the lyric against The Sheltering Sky, I have my own thoughts. For example, when considering the line “There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do,” why does Sebastian Venable come to mind?

AFRICA
(David Paich/Jeff Porcaro)

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 old forgotten words or ancient melodies
He turned to me as if to say, Hurry boy, It's waiting there for you

CHORUS:
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 have

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

CHORUS

(Instrumental break)

Hurry boy, she'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, 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 have

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