April 1982: Toto Release "Rosanna"

Rosanna
Photo Credit
Columbia Records

Toto's other smash hit from their bestselling Toto IV might not be about who you think it is - even though it's certainly named after her.

That's right: "Rosanna," the album's epic opener - which not only set the template for Toto IV's smooth session-musician supremacy but perhaps the band's entire deal - was not necessarily written with actress Rosanna Arquette in mind. Sure, she was there, dating keyboardist Steve Porcaro, but writer David Paich (the band's other keyboardist) says he only took her name, not her personality.

READ MORE: April 1982: Toto Releases "Toto IV"

"[Steve] had just met her and was looking to title a song with her name, and it just fit perfectly for that song right there," Paich toldĀ Songfacts in an interview. "So it's got her name on it, but it's really about another high school sweetheart, which is how songs happen sometimes."

Arquette, for her part, was game to play along, regaling Rolling Stone in 1983 about "showing up at 4 a.m., bringing them juice and beer at their sessions." Funnily enough, the song is kind of a long game of perspectives: Porcaro's romance inspired the title, Paich's romance inspired the lyrics, and the dual vocals of guitarist Steve Lukather and singer Bobby Kimball (on the soaring high notes) delivered all that emotion into a killer package. (We'd also be remiss if we didn't cite the killer rhythm section of bassist David Hungate and the late drummer Jeff Porcaro, whose meticulous, swinging half-time beat pulls the listener in from the start.)

READ MORE: February 1983: Toto Hits #1 in America with "Africa"

Powered by a killer music video (starring not Arquette but future Richard Marx spouse Cynthia Rhodes), "Rosanna" was the first smash from Toto IV, parking itself at No. 2 for five weeks. (The Human League's "Don't You Want Me" and Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" kept it from the top.) The song picked up three Grammy Awards including Record of the Year, and helped Toto IV earn another two, including Album of the Year.

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