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Toto - Rosanna (1982)

  • Video Views 113,538,703
  • 80's Score80's Score 80's score: 1.98
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

“Rosanna” is a song written by David Paich and performed by the American rock band Toto, the opening track and ...

“Rosanna” is a song written by David Paich and performed by the American rock band Toto, the opening track and the first single from their 1982 album Toto IV. This song won the Record of the Year Grammy Award in the 1983 presentations. “Rosanna” was also nominated for the Song of the Year award. It is regarded for drummer Jeff Porcaro’s half-time shuffle, commonly known as the “Rosanna shuffle”.

The song reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks, behind “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League and “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. It was also one of the band’s most successful singles in the UK, peaking at No. 12 on the UK Singles Chart and remaining on the chart for eight weeks.

Composition and lyrics

The song was written by David Paich, who has said that the song is based on numerous girls he had known. As a joke, the band members initially played along with the common assumption that the song was based on Rosanna Arquette, who was dating Toto keyboard player Steve Porcaro at the time and coincidentally had the same name. Arquette herself played along with the joke, commenting in an interview that the song was about “my showing up at 4 a.m., bringing them juice and beer at their sessions.”

Steve Porcaro and Lukather describe it as “the ultimate Toto track”.

Music video

The West Side Story-inspired video was directed by Steve Barron and set in a stylized urban streetscape, with Rosanna represented by a dancer whose bright red dress contrasts with the gray surroundings. The band plays within a chain-link fence enclosure. Cynthia Rhodes is featured as the lead dancer Rosanna, which led to her being cast in Staying Alive the following year. It also featured Thomas Guzman-Sanchez of the dance group Chain Reaction as one of the male dancers. He did the Boogaloo/Popping body wave leaping over another dancer. Patrick Swayze can be seen as one of the dancers. Swayze and Rhodes later starred together in the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing. The video uses the album version of the song, instead of the single edit.

Despite not playing on the actual recording, new bassist Mike Porcaro (brother of Jeff and Steve) appears in the video, as original Toto bass player David Hungate left before the video was made. Lenny Castro is also featured with the band as a percussionist.

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