Day 39. A song that you wish you could sing really well

“Africa” – Toto

There are simply a boatload of songs I wish I could sing really well. As this singing discussion progresses (here and here), it should now be clear that singing in high registers is not where my voice works, so just about anything that goes high (read: most rock music) could potentially end up on this list.

I spent time going through the choices. Certainly, “Mama” and “Driving The Last Spike” by Genesis would be in my top ten, but I’m still trying to spare you from a Genesis overload too early. (I’m sure those will appear somewhere in the 365 songs this year, because those songs are in lots of my top ten lists.)

I’m also trying to keep it to male vocals. For example, “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson would probably be a in the mix if I wasn’t limiting the choices to males.


Foreigner’s “Juke Box Hero” was the leading candidate for a while. And then I considered “Do Ya” by ELO until I realized that the only part of that I can’t really sing is the high-end background vocals of the chorus. I could sing lead on that one. So it, too, got bumped.

Finally, I thought, “What song would require me to put my balls into a vice just so I could hit more than one or two of the lead singer’s notes?” Hmm… Maybe!?… No. What about… Got it!

“Africa.”

(Actually, up until “Juke Box Hero” the above is accurate. But when “Juke Box Hero” still didn’t feel quite right, I just sorted my iTunes playlist by descending number of plays and made a call on each song until I hit “Do Ya” and then, a little further along, “Africa.” But that doesn’t sound nearly as good, does it? While I could have gone further down the list to see if there were better candidates, I did actually think that “Africa” fit the bill quite well, and that I probably wouldn’t find anything that would be better. Which is why I decided I could stop there. I wasn’t just cheesing out.)

“Africa” has been one of my favorite songs for years. It was on that first “real” mix tape my brother made at my behest back in 1983 (along with “Back In Black“). It’s sad, but even then I couldn’t hit those high notes (“It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you/There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do”), and that was before my voice changed. And my pre-puberty voice was pretty high.

So yeah, I do wish I could sing this one really well. I think it has a great vibe, right from the opening drum beats. It has that mellow feel through the verses, and then, the chorus just sort of busts out. I like it.

It does, however, contain one of the cheesiest lines in rock history:

I know that I must do what’s right
Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti

Like Olympus? Really? Nothing like throwing in a completely incongruous reference (and image) in there. But I guess I can forgive it since I like the rest of the song so much.

So there you have it. This post wraps up the singing-related challenges trilogy. For which I am grateful.

Now I’m going to rise like Olympus out of my chair and get a snack. Because, y’know, it’s right.