Love It or Hate It Toto’s Smash Hit, Africa, Is Here to Stay

Everyone knows that Toto’s 1982 smash hit, Africa, is undoubtedly one of the greatest songs of all time. It’s nearly impossible not to bop your head and hum along to that famous intro: “Do do do do do do do doooo.”

Nathan East ,Mabvuto Carpenter, Jenny Douglas, Simon Phillips, David Paich, Steve Porcaro, Steve Lukather, Joseph Williams
Toto Live At Castello Scaligero, Italy – July 2011 – Nathan East ,Mabvuto Carpenter, Jenny Douglas, Simon Phillips, David Paich, Steve Porcaro, Steve Lukather, Joseph Williams. Photo By Kevin Nixon/Future/Shutterstock

And that hook? “I bless the rains down in Africa!” Amazing. But do you know the song’s fascinating backstory? And that the band never set foot in Africa? Don’t worry. We have all you need to know and more about this iconic tune.

“I Bless the Rains”

As a child, the song’s writer (and band’s singer) David Paich attended an all-boys Catholic school, where many of the teachers had been missionaries in Africa. According to Paich, the teachers would tell him how they would bless everything.

David Paich, Toto in concert, Helsingborg, Sweden - 02 Aug 2017
David Paich, Toto in concert, Helsingborg, Sweden – 02 Aug 2017. Photo By Ibl/Shutterstock

They blessed the villagers, their homes, their books, their crops, and when it rained, the rain—which is where that famous hook, “I bless the rains down in Africa!” came from. While it sounded like a dream life to Paich, he also says that the teachers struggled out there.

Toto Never Went to Africa

According to his teachers, loneliness was the hardest thing about spending time in the African villages. “Some of them never made it into the priesthood because they needed companionship,” Paich told The Guardian in 2018. So Paich decided to write a song about someone flying to meet a lonely missionary in Africa.

Nathan East David Paich
Nathan East, David Paich. Photo By Kevin Nixon/Future/Shutterstock

But it wasn’t until the singer saw a UNICEF commercial showing families living in poverty that he decided to write a song about Africa. Since the singer never set foot on the content, he says that most of the song’s descriptions came from what he had read on National Geographic.

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