“There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do.”Also, there’s also nothing that 98 other songs on this countdown could ever do to prevent Toto’s Africa from being my second-favorite song of the 1980s.

Africa is the most delightfully catchy and polished tune of the decade I can think of, and trust me I spent countless hours thinking of this list. I’m serious.  I’m not concerned with how corny people find me or having my man-card revoked over it —- Africa is as good as it gets when it comes to tunage from this era, especially  when it comes to the uncontainable chorus that’s transformed into one of the most  renowned drunken sing-along jams known to man (or woman).

While over time Africa became a party favorite for the ages the song itself is actually that of a serious nature—the tale of a man who comes to Africa and falls loves it there but then falls for a visiting woman and is forced to make a decision on if he wants to leave Africa in order to stay with her.

Keyboard player David Paich, who wrote the song said the lyrics contained a personal connection even though he’d never actually been to Africa. 

In an interview with (who else) Songfacts.com, Paich explained “There’s a little metaphor involved here, because I was at the age where I was so immersed in my work, 24/7, that at times I felt like I was becoming just a victim of my work. There was a little bit of autobiographical information in there: being consumed by my work, not having time to go out and pursue getting married and raising a family and doing all the things that other people do that were my age at the time.”

Ironically, Africa almost didn’t make their Toto IV album, which by the way would go on to win the Grammy for Album of the Year. It was literally the last song chosen to the LP.

Thank God it found its way to that album. Africa is one of those songs that felt awesome when it first hit the radio in 1982 and not only stood the test of time, but actually gets better with age.  Hand to God, I can’t remember a time I’ve played this on a bar jukebox and the place didn’t erupt for the chorus, even if barely anyone actually knows half the freegin’ words to the verses.

Long live Africa! There’s only one song left to go—-a tune about a cunning, manipulative young vixen.

Chart Success: This reached number-one on the Billboard Hot 100. Duh, of course it did.  It only lasted one week at the top before Men at Work’s “Down Under” knocked it off.  It did spent 21 weeks in total on the charts and finished 1983 ranked 24th on the year-end Billboard Hot 100.

Great Lyrics: The whole “I know that I must do what’s right, as sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti” line is a phenomenon. I think God himself may have written that because for real, man—who comes up with stuff like that?

“The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless, longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what’s right
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

It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had”

Fun Fact: In 2015 a website called NME ranked the 50 Most Explosive Choruses.  Africa only came in at No. 32, which serves as evidence this entire list is a bunch of bullshit. For the record the number-one song was Don’t Look Back in Anger by Oasis, which I’m embarrassed (but actually not) to say I’ve never even heard of. Ditto for No. 3 (Mr. Brightside by the Killers, 4 (Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon) and 5 (Plug in Baby by Muse).  Maybe this answers why I’m still addicted to 80s music. At least number-two (Be My Baby by the Ronettes) was a choice I can get behind.

68. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel 

56. Michael Sembello – Maniac

55. Styx – Too Much Time On My Hands

54. Heart – Alone 

53. Olivia Newton John – Physical 

52. Loverboy – When It’s Over

51. The Time – Jungle Love

50 Michael Jackson – Thriller 

49. Marvin Gaye- Sexual Healing 

 48. Huey Lewis & The News – Do You Believe In Love

47. Madonna – Crazy For You

46. Hall & Oates – Maneater

45. Toto – Rosanna 

44. New Edition – Mr. Telephone Man

43. Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA

42. Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World

41. Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody

40. Tiffany – Could’ve Been

39. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark

38. Culture Club – Karma Chameleon

37. Christopher Cross – Sailing 

36. Go-Go’s – We Got The Beat

35. The Jets – Make It Real

34. Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is

33. Pat Benatar – Love Is A Battlefield

32. USA For Africa- We Are The World

31. Van Halen – Jump

30. Kenny Loggins – I’m Free (Heaven Helps The Man)

29. Dexys Midnite Runners – Come On Eileen

28.  J. Geils Band – Centerfold

27. Hall & Oates – Private Eyes

26. Madonna – Like A Virgin

25. New Edition – Cool It Now

24. Men At Work – Who Can It Be Now

23. Eddie Murphy – Party All The Time

22. Jermaine Stewart – We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off

21. Don Henley – Dirty Laundry 

20. Scorpions – Still Loving You

19. Wham! – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

18. Billy Vera – At This Moment

17. Phil Collins/Philip Bailey – Easy Lover

16. Tommy Tutone – 867-5309/Jenny

15. Prince – Purple Rain

14. Wham – Careless Whisper

13. Prince – Let’s Go Crazy 

12. Rockwell – Somebody’s Watching Me

11. Rick Springfield – Jessie’s Girl 

10. Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger

9. Kenny Loggins – Footloose

8. Bryan Adams – Heaven 

7. Phil Collins – Against All Odds

6. Michael Jackson – Beat It 

5. Billy Ocean – Caribbean Queen 

4. Lionel Richie – Hello 

3. Prince – When Doves Cry