Primary Wave Music has purchased Toto drummer and co-writer Jeff Porcaro’s publishing catalog and master royalties for around $30 million, according to a source familiar with the deal. The acquisition comes at the end of a massive year of catalog growth for the independent publisher and rights holder by adding Porcaro’s share of major royalties and the release of chart-topping Toto hits like the record “Rosanna “, “I’ll Be Over”. You”, “Hold The Line” and their evergreen classic “Africa”.
Today, Toto’s “Africa” remains an American pop classic. Co-written by Porcaro, the song was released in October 1982 as the third single from the band’s multi-platinum record. Toto IV and became the group’s only No. 1 hit on Billboard Hot 100 chart. The tune returned to the Hot 100 chart decades later after being covered by Weezer in 2018. But the everlasting success was more of an accident than anything, by Porcaro’s own admission. It started as an African-style drum loop, using fake marimba sounds on his Yamaha GS-1 synthesizer. From there, the band members tape-recorded the drum and looped it for hours while they wrote the melody and other parts.
The rest is pop music history.
Porcaro, however, was more than Toto’s drummer and writer. Prior to working with the band, Porcaro made a name for himself as a touring drummer for Steely Dan and Boz Scaggs. The late musician was also considered one of the finest session musicians of his era, playing in the background hundreds of classic songs including cuts from Sonny & Cher, Miles Davis, Steely Dan, Eric Clapton, Barbra Streisand , Joe Cocker, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John and Frankie Valli among others.
With an unforgettable career spanning decades and roles, Porcaro remains one of the defining musicians of the late 20th century. He died in 1992 at the age of 38 after suffering a heart attack.
“Being one of the millions of fans to shout the chorus of ‘Africa’ at the top of their voices on several occasions, it is certainly another exciting moment in the history of Primary Wave,” said Adam Lowenberg, CMO of Primary Wave Music. He continues: “Quite simply, Jeff Porcaro belongs to the Mount Rushmore of the great American drummers. We are honored to work with Jeff’s wife, Susan, and their sons, to ensure that his legacy will be recognized by generations to come.
Susan Porcaro, wife of Jeff, added “As a home of legends, we believe Primary Wave is the perfect partner to continue to protect Jeff’s musical legacy.”