Bless the Rain With 41 Very Different Covers of Toto’s ‘Africa’
For a song so that practically defines the slickness of '80s light rock, Toto's "Africa" sure has lent itself to numerous arrangements over the years. We've found 41 covers of the 1982 hit, which was originally released on 1982's Grammy-winning Toto IV.
Some of the covers are straightforward remakes, but you'll also hear acoustic renditions, as well as arrangements for R&B, metal, New Orleans-style brass band, synth-pop, electronic, 8-bit video game, bluegrass, a cappella and more from musicians all over the world.
While the earliest remake we found, by Key of Dreams, came out before "Africa" topped the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1983, slightly more than half of them stem from after 2010. Check them out below.
Matt Heafy (2018)
Trivium frontman Matt Heafy has been known to record all kinds of covers, from Earth, Wind & Fire's "September" to Bing Crosby's Hawaiian Christmas classic "Mele Kalikimaka" to Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time." He decided to bless the rains and upload his "Africa" cover to his YouTube channel in July 2018.
In December 2017, a Cleveland-area teenager created a Twitter account calling for Weezer to cover "Africa." The campaign went viral and, six months later, the band obliged. But a week before, they teased her by releasing a version of another Toto IV hit, "Rosanna."
Chris De Burgh (2008)
Chris De Burgh is best known for his ballad "The Lady in Red," which went to No. 3 in 1986. In addition to "Africa," his 2008 album Footsteps found him putting his stamp on Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," Badfinger's "Without You" and three Beatles songs.
Ninja Sex Party (2017)
Although the musical comedy duo Ninja Sex Party have gained fame for such sophomoric originals as "Dinosaur Laser Fight," "Everybody Shut Up (I Have an Erection)" and "Samurai Abstinence Patrol," they've also put out a few albums comprised of cover songs. "Africa" kicked off 2017's Under the Covers, Vol. II.
True Kiss Destination (1999)
True Kiss Destination were a Japanese pop duo consisting of Asami Yoshida and Komuro Tetsuya. After getting signed to Sony on the strength of their self-titled debut, they launched a career by releasing a take on Toto's classic.
Howie Day (2000)
The singer-songwriter had frequently covered "Africa" in concert in the early '00s, accompanied solely by his acoustic guitar. By 2003, he had signed with Epic Records and released Stop All the World Now. The album featured "Collide," which reached No. 20 a year later.
SubAudible Hum (2007)
For years, Australia's Triple J radio station has been inviting bands into its studio once a week to play covers; they were then compiled on the Like a Version CD series. Melbourne's SubAudible Hum chose "Africa" when they performed on the show in 2007.
Hailing from Stuttgart, Germany, Pyogenesis helped popularize gothic metal in their home country. Their cover of "Africa" appeared on their fourth album, 1998's Mono … Or Will It Ever Be the Way It Used to Be.
Lowry came out of New York's "anti-folk" movement in the late '90s. Their take on "Africa," which featured Heidi Sidelinker taking the lead vocal from Alex Lowry in the chorus, appeared on Guilt by Association Vol. 2, which featured numerous indie-rock bands recording cover songs.
Myron Avant, who only uses his last name professionally, topped the U.S. R&B chart in 2000 with his debut single "Separated," and has reached the Top 10 six times since then. "Africa" appeared as a bonus track on 2008's The Letter CD.
Hackney Colliery Band (2011)
A London version of a New Orleans brass band, the Hackney Colliery Band have received acclaim for their live shows, and even played the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. They released "Africa" on their debut record, which featured original songs as well as new arrangements of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under the Bridge" and Blackstreet's "No Diggity."
For 2012's A Spoonful of Time, progressive rock band Nektar covered some of their favorite songs and invited some of their heroes -- like Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman and Ian Paice of Deep Purple -- to sit in. "Africa," which closes the album, features vocals by Toto singer Bobby Kimball and keyboards from another Yes alum, Patrick Moraz.
Relient K (2011)
Similar to REO Speedwagon, Relient K named themselves after an automobile, in this case the Plymouth Reliant K, which helped turn around Chrysler's fortunes in the '80s. The Christian rock band recorded "Africa" -- as well as covers of Justin Bieber's "Baby," Tom Petty's "Here Comes My Girl" and Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" -- on 2011's Is for Karaoke.
Eric Benet (2014)
Neo-soul singer Eric Benet rose to fame when his 1996 debut, True to Myself, spawned four R&B hits. He topped that chart in 1999 with "Spend My Life With You." Halle Berry's former husband has also starred in movies and TV shows. His covers album, From E to U: Volume 1, came out in Japan in 2014.
Varius Manx and Kacper Gołda (2015)
Polish stars Varius Manx recorded "Africa" for a compilation put out by radio station RMF FM to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Sharing vocals with Edyta Kuczynska is Kacper Golda, who's competed on Poland's versions of The X Factor and The Voice.
Bacall + Malo (2016)
Swedish DJ Bacall had a No. 11 hit in his home country when he and Malo covered "Africa." Prince Osito was brought in to do some Jamaican toasting.
Leo Moracchioli feat. Hannah Boulton and Rabea Massaad (2017)
Multi-instrumentalist Leo Moracchioli, who owns Norway's Frog Leap Studios, gave metal arrangements to a diverse array of songs -- including "Africa," The Lion King's "Hakuna Matata" and R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" -- on a 2017 album. Hannah Boulton helped out on vocals; Rabea Massaad provided a guitar solo.
Zo! and Tigallo (2008)
In 2006, a Washington, D.C.-based musician named Zo! joined forces with a singer and rapper named Phonte (Little Brother, the Foreign Exchange) to record some covers. Their album, Zo! and Tigallo Love the 80's, came out two years later. "We started out doing this project just for fun," Phonte said. "But although we did it for fun, this is not a 'joke' record by any means. Me and Zo take our work very seriously, and have the utmost respect for all the artists that we covered."
Justin Mauriello (2010)
Justin Mauriello recorded a faithful cover of "Africa" on 2010's Justin Sings the Hits. Mauriello has been in the alternative and punk worlds since 1995, first as a member of Zebrahead, then as the frontman for Darling Thieves.
Born Danny Wolfers, Dutch musician Legowelt has been making electronic music rooted in the Chicago house sound since the mid-'90s. His instrumental take on "Africa" features synth sounds and beats that were common in the late '80s, even though he recorded it in 2009.
The Shadows (1983)
The Shadows, who backed English rock legend Cliff Richard on his earliest hits, celebrated their 25th anniversary in 1983 with XXV. In addition to "Africa," the album included instrumental recordings of songs by Mark Knopfler, Procol Harum, Dusty Springfield and Booker T. & the M.G.'s.
Yacht Rock Revue (2013)
Calling themselves a cross between a "tribute, an original act and a comedic troupe," the Yacht Rock Revue plays the music of that genre in clubs around the country and on rock-themed cruises. In addition to "Africa," 2013's Live at the Georgia Theatre features covers of Hall & Oates ("Rich Girl"), Little River Band ("Reminiscing"), Steely Dan ("Peg") and Looking Glass ("Brandy [You're a Fine Girl])."
Brad Davis (2017)
The veteran bluegrass musician cut his version of "Africa" for volume two of CMH Records' Pickin' on the Biggest Hits of the '80s series. "Of all the renditions of our song -- and there are many -- Brad Davis has taken it to a place I never expected in the coolest way," said Toto's Steve Lukather.
Christina Ashley (2011)
While still a teenager, San Diego's Christina Ashley released Let It All Go in 2011. The 17-song record interspersed her own compositions between takes on songs by influences like Paul Simon ("Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes"), Elton John ("Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word") and Jackson Browne ("Running on Empty").
Andy McKee (2004)
Marco Pigolotti (2013)
Starting out as a metal guitarist as a 13-year-old, Andy McKee switched to acoustic a few years later and released his debut, Nocturne, in 2001. His cover of "Africa" appeared on 2004's Dreamcatcher, but he uploaded a performance to YouTube in 2009, and it has since been viewed more than 4 million times. Italian finger-picking guitarist Marco Pigolotti released his own arrangement in 2013.
8 Bit Arcade (2016)
Music Legends (2015)
Given how synonymous "Africa" is with the '80s, the song is a natural fit for those who specialize in creating 8-bit music -- the sounds heard in vintage video games -- like 8 Bit Arcade and Music Legends. On a similarly retro vibe, the Floppotron makes music out of the sounds made by obsolete computer parts -- 64 floppy disc drives, eight hard discs and two optical scanners.
Calling himself "Erock," Eric Calderone has been uploading metal reworkings of seemingly any song that pops into his head to YouTube since 2009. He heard the drums echoing in 2014, and his version has been viewed more than a million times.
Emmerson Nogueira (2002)
Beginning in 2001, Brazilian guitarist Emmerson Nogueira has been releasing albums of cover songs, including an entire volume devoted to the works of the Beatles. His take on "Africa" showed up on 2002's Versão Acústica 2; the live version above appeared on 2008's Ao Vivo.
An a cappella octet from Toronto, Retrocity specialize in instrument-free takes on hits of the '80s. Released in 2006, Totally 80s A Cappella includes Toto's hit among Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure," Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" and Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time."
The Moon Loungers (2015)
The Moon Loungers, from Bristol, England, have been playing weddings since 2006, first as an acoustic duo and then bringing on a drummer a year later. Their diverse song list has twice earned them a regional Wedding Industry Award for best live wedding band in the South West of England.
Mike Massé and Jeff Hall (2012)
For years, attorneys Mike Massé and Jeff Hall have been setting up shop in a Utah pizzeria, recording some of their favorite songs with just acoustic guitar and bass and uploading the results to YouTube. "Africa" appeared in 2010 and has since been viewed more than 10 million times.
St. Lucia (2016)
Brooklyn-based, South Africa-born musician Jean-Philip Grobler has been recording under the name St. Lucia since 2013, with his songs featured in commercials for Taco Bell and Victoria's Secret. His version of "Africa" was recorded during a 2016 stop at the Wiltern in Los Angeles.
As Affiance singer Dennis Tvrdik explained, the band recorded a version of "Africa" while on a tour of South Africa in 2014. The Cleveland-based metal band released the song as a single in 2016, but a year later, they announced that they were "going on an indefinite hiatus."
Key of Dreams (1982)
They Say Fall (2013)
Starlite Saxophones (2015)
Sum of the Acoustix feat. Justin Belew (2014)