Toto's video for Africa has now been watched a billion times on YouTube

Toto in 1982
(Image credit: Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Toto's classic hit Africa has achieved another statistical milestone, three years after hitting the billion-stream mark on Spotify. This time it's hit the same number of views on YouTube, meaning that humanity has cumulatively spent somewhere in the region of 2,372,685 days watching the video.

Africa joins a list of clips that's headed by Pinkfong's toddler-friendly Baby Shark Dance, which has been witnessed a sanity-boggling 14 billion times. The "rock" songs on the most-played list are headed by Maroon 5's Sugar and Girl Like You (4 billion and 3.6 billion, respectively), while other members of the so-called Billion-View Club include Guns N' Roses' November Rain and Sweet Child O' Mine, Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, and Numb by Linkin Park.

“As a kid, I'd always been fascinated by Africa," co-writer David Paich told The Guardian in 2018. "I loved movies about Dr. Livingstone and missionaries. I went to an all-boys Catholic school and a lot of the teachers had done missionary work in Africa. They told me how they would bless the villagers, their Bibles, their books, their crops and when it rained, they'd bless the rain. That's where the hook line – 'I bless the rains down in Africa' - came from.”

Despite Paich's apparently innocent intentions, the video for Africa – directed by Steve Barron, who was responsible for the classic clips that accompanied Michael Jackson's Billie Jean an Take On Me by A-Ha – has proved to have a somewhat controversial afterlife, with Rolling Stone describing the clip as "mind-blowingly racist, which might be why MTV barely played it" in a 2018 article, and Stereogum calling it "almost shockingly racist" and the probable result of "cocaine logic delirium" two years later.

Africa's afterlife also extends to it playing on an endless loop deep in the Namib Desert, while it's also been performed by turning a sweet potato and a butternut squash into a pair of working ocarinas. Hell, even Weezer covered it

Toto - Africa (Official HD Video) - YouTube Toto - Africa (Official HD Video) - YouTube
Watch On
Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.