Wednesday, March 31, 1982

Toto “Rosanna” released



Writer(s): David Paich (see lyrics here)

Released: March 31, 1982

First Charted: April 17, 1982

Peak: 2 US, 2 CB, 13 GR, 14 RR, 17 AC, 8 AR, 12 UK, 4 CN, 16 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.2 UK, 1.29 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 129.1 video, 196.14 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

There has been confusion over the inspiration for this song. David Paich wrote the song about, as he said, “a high school love, one of my first loves.” SF However, bandmate Steve Porcaro was dating actress Rosanna Arquette at the time, leading many to believe the song was about her. Paich said, “he had just met her and was looking to title a song with her name and it just fit perfectly for that song.” SF

To confuse matters more, Bobby Kimball sings lead on the song, which caused many listeners to assume that it was Kimball who was dating Arquette. SF Arquette played along with the public’s perception that the song was about her, even saying in an interview it was about “my showing up at 4 a.m., bringing them juice and beer at their sessions.” WK Arquette and Porcaro broke up not long after the song was released.

The song reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks. First it was stuck behind the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” but after it slipped from the top, Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” leap-frogged over “Rosanna.” The song would go on to win the Grammy for Record of the Year and its parent album, Toto IV, won the Grammy for Album of the Year. The album generated two more top-10 hits with the #1 hit “Africa” and the ballad “I Won’t Hold You Back.”

The video for the song was directed by Steve Barron, who went on to direct some of the most celebrated videos of all time, including Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing,” and aha’s “Take on Me.” The video is shot in an urban-street setting, inspired by the classic musical West Side Story. Paich got the idea for the video because their was some finger-snapping in the song, reminding him of the classic finger snaps in West Side Story. SF


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First posted 7/6/2022; last updated 12/6/2022.

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