Cast your mind back to 2018, before “unprecedented” was part of our vernacular; when the only thing we cared about was Weezer delivering a cover of the perennial 1982 Toto classic ‘Africa.’
If you missed the Weezer covering ‘Africa’ saga, here’s a little primer. In December 2017, a 14-year-old Twitter user named Mary launched a viral campaign to get Weezer to cover the Toto hit.
“It was just a goofy joke,” explained Mary in an interview with Vice at the time. “It was from Weezer was talking about they were inspired for their new album [Pacific] Daydream, what inspired them. So I jokingly said, “Oh I bet they were inspired by ‘Africa’ by Toto for their new album.”
“It was just an absurd joke. And then I was like, ‘I wonder if I can get them to cover the song.’”
It wasn’t long before the campaign picked up steam, and fans piled onto the #WeezerCoverAfrica. The band, who are trolling personified, responded by releasing a cover of Toto’s lesser-known hit, ‘Rosanna.’
“#WeezerCoverAfrica turned into #WeezerCoveringRosanna ???” Mary tweeted in response to getting played.
Eventually, the alt-rock stalwarts caved and released a cover of ‘Africa’ complete with album artwork featuring Mary’s original tweet. The cover went on to hit #1 on Billboard’s Rock Airplay chart — Weezer’s first chart-topper since 2008’s “Pork and Beans.”
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The cover spawned a vinyl release and a live performance with Weird Al Yankovic. Everything about it was chaotic and bizarre and so, so perfect.
Toto guitarist Steve Lukather recently sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss the ‘Africa’ renaissance and Weezer’s cover. Revealing that he was disappointed in Rivers Cuomo for avoiding talking to him.
“I tried to reach out to Rivers. I said, ‘Hey, man, isn’t this funny? Whether you like us or not, it’s working out good for both of us.’… Silence!,” he mused.
“The cat refused to talk to me! I’m friends with the biggest rock ‘n’ roll stars in the world, and this is the only cat that refuses to talk to me!
“I’m sorry, Rivers, you made a lot of fuckin’ money off this. You should be a little bit more thankful. But I got nothing bad to say about them. Some of them were cool, but Rivers really hurt my feelings.”
Who’d’ve thunk Rivers Cuomo could be so cold.