Eclectic Blue

Frightened of this thing that I’ve become

0 Comments 13 June 2018

The song of summer 2018 is going to be Africa. You know the one. That song by Toto from their fourth album which was called Toto IV. The one written by David Paich and the late Jeff Porcaro where they “blessed the rains in Africa” and sang that they were “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.” The lyrics were slightly bonkers or part of a dream sequence in a love story. I’ll stick with the latter whether it’s true or not. But it’s not Toto singing and playing this time: it’s Weezer.

As well as being a Toto-head, or whatever Toto obsessives are called, if anything, Weezer are at the top of my bucket list of bands I want to see. I have every record they ever made. They write great tunes, they write clever, often quirky lyrics and they haven’t had a hit in a decade. Then a 14 year old started a twitter campaign for Weezer to cover some Toto songs.

Eventually, the campaign bore fruit and Weezer recorded not just Africa but also Rosanna, also from the Toto IV record. Even more astonishingly, the single quickly reached number one in the iTunes chart in the USA and is now climbing quickly in Billboard’s top 100.

Toto, unfairly ridiculed and never in fashion are suddenly, amazingly, in fashion. Not just from fossils like me, but from younger people who might otherwise be listening to new music from various genres. The 60-somethings of Toto are, whatever you think of their music, some of the finest musicians who ever lived. They were Michael Jackson’s backing band on Thriller, between them they have played on over 5000 songs for countless artists and bands. And now, after 40 trips around the sun, they are starting to get the credit and respect they deserve.

You do not have to like Toto to respect them, their talent, their longevity, their persistence and hard work. They can play. They are the best they can be. And if you were making your own rock record, whether you were Michael Jackson, Ringo Starr or Olivia Newton-John, Toto’s gifted musicians are the first you would call on.

The song of the summer is Africa. Whoever thought, 36 years on from its release, you would be saying that?

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