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

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.”

Revisit the “Africa” video below:

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