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Bless the Rains: Toto’s ‘Africa’ Video Hits 1 Billion Views on YouTube

"Africa" -- Toto's lone Hot 100 chart-topper -- is the band's first entry in YouTube's Billion Views Club.

Toto's "Africa" music video

Toto's "Africa" music video

YouTube

More than 40 years after topping the Billboard Hot 100, Toto‘s “Africa” is still reaching new milestones: The 1983 No. 1 hit just surpassed 1 billion views on YouTube.

“Africa” — Toto’s lone Hot 100 chart-topper among four top 10 hits — is the band’s first entry in YouTube’s Billion Views Club.


The Toto IV single has lived a lot of lives since its 1982 debut, being certified gold by the RIAA in 1991, then becoming an Internet meme in the 2000s, even leading to a fan-powered Weezer cover that brought the song back to the Hot 100, peaking at No. 51 in 2018. “Africa” now stands at eight-times platinum, as of a 2022 RIAA certification.

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While “Africa” didn’t receive any individual Grammy nominations, its parent project Toto IV won album of the year at the 1983 ceremony.

The billion-view music video takes place inside a library, where Toto’s David Paich is trying to match a scrap of a page to its missing book. When he locates a book titled Africa, an African man throws a spear that topples over the bookshelf, and a lantern sets the book on fire. Also in the video, the band performs the song on top of a giant stack of books about Africa.

While Rolling Stone‘s Rob Sheffield called the video “mind-blowingly racist” in its portrayal of African culture in a 2018 article, in Billboard‘s oral history of the song earlier that same year, “Africa” director Steve Barron seemed unaware of any backlash. “There should have been [backlash]. But I don’t think there was,” Barron said at the time. “Because I look at the video, and I have now obviously traveled to Africa, and I’ve been to Rwanda, and I’ve been to Kenya, and… yeah, that is probably kind of a white guy’s, outsider view of the meaning of the song.”

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Revisit the “Africa” video below:

This article was originally published by Billboard U.S.

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