For my production analysis, I chose to focus on Toto’s “Africa,” one of my favorite songs.
In my research for this post, Toto’s process of making this song was an interesting read.
The producers were the members of Toto, with vocalist/keyboardist David Paich and drummer Jeff Porcaro noted as the writers of the song. The engineers were Dick Gall, Bruce Heigh, Tom Knox, Greg Ladanyi, David Paich, Steve Porcaro and Al Schmitt.
The percussion beat that starts it comes from Porcaro on bass drum, snare drum, and high hat, with Lenny Castro on conga. Once they found the groove they were looking for, they looped certain measures. On top of the percussion track, they then also overdubbed it with cowbell and shaker, providing the official percussive loop for the whole song. The opening theme of the song was done on the Yamaha CS80, with the response melody being played on marimba and a kalimba sound provided by a GS1. The response melody instruments can also be heard during the instrumental break of the song (heard around 2:58). For the vocals, they recorded through a U47, and triple-layered the lead vocals. In the second verse, you can also hear recorder in the background, which was played by guest musician Jim Horn. They also used Eventide Harmonizers for the chorusing and harmonizing.