All I wanna do when I wake up in the morning is see you’re eyes :: VOTD

Rosanna :: Toto
From the album, Toto IV
Directed by Steve Barron

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.

In musician circles, the song is known for its highly influential namesake half-time shuffle, as well as the ending guitar solo played by guitarist Steve Lukather.

The song Rosanna peaked at # 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks,and also peaked at # 12 on the UK Singles Chart.

The B-side of the vinyl single was the song It’s a Feeling, which is also on the album Toto IV.

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.

Porcaro didn’t write the song – it was written by Toto leader David Paich, who was always looking for good ideas for lyrics. As Toto’s guitarist Steve Lukather explained in a 2002 interview with Mixdown, the song isn’t exactly about Arquette. Said Likather: “She was living with Steve Porcaro at the time and David Paich and Steve Porcaro were living together, and David loved the sound of the name. But it wasn’t about her, it just happened to be her and everybody jumped on that one.”

Paich added in the liner notes to Toto’s Best Ballads compilation: “Rosanna is about three girls that I knew all rolled into one. After I met Rosanna Arquette, I think I just stole her name and stuck it on there.”

Steve Porcaro and Rosanna Arquette broke up not long after this song was released.

The drum pattern is known as a “half-time shuffle“, and shows “definite jazz influence“. Featuring ghost notes and derived from the combination of what Jeff Porcaro calls the “Bernard Purdie half time shuffle” (Purdie shuffle) and the “John Bonham beat” (from Fool in the Rain) with the well-known Bo Diddley beat.

The video (see above) is set in a stylized urban streetscape, with Rosanna shown as a dancer whose bright red dress contrasts with her grey surroundings. The band plays within a chain-link fence enclosure. Cynthia Rhodes is featured as the lead dancer, which led to her being cast in Staying Alive the following year.

The video also featured Thomas Guzman-Sanchez of the legendary dance group Chain Reaction as one of the male dancers. He did the Boogaloo/Popping body wave leaping over another dancer.  New bassist Mike Porcaro appears in this video, as original Toto bass player David Hungate left before the video was made.

A young Patrick Swayze can be seen as one of the dancers. He would later go on to star in Dirty Dancing, with Cynthia Rhodes, in 1987.


(A young Patrick Swayze)

Editor’s notes: 

There were three things I loved the most in 1982: trips to Licorice Pizza (record store that would later become Sam Goody, and then later be no more), MTV, and the Skate Ranch (local roller rink).

I was in Junior High and being dropped off at the roller rink with my friends was a taste of freedom for us. We skated while hearing some of our favorite songs, spent babysitting money and allowance on rounds of Ms. Pac-Man, swooned over the cute boys, and tried to pretend we were older teenagers than our ages allowed – you know, like High School girls.

Rosanna was a big song during 1982 at the Skate Ranch, and one we all had a love/hate musical affair with. Most of the time we sat against the boards watching the skaters when this song played because it was a “couples skate” song. Though, there was this one time that one of our group got asked to skate to this song, and though her name was nothing like Rosanna, we did sing it to her for weeks after.


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