Rosanna (song)

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Single by Toto
from the album Toto IV
B-side "It's a Feeling"
Released April 1, 1982
Format 7", CD single
Recorded 1982
Genre Rock, Soft rock
Length 5:31
4:02 (7" version)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) David Paich
Producer(s) Toto
Certification Gold (RIAA, Canada)
Toto singles chronology
"Live for Today"
"Make Believe"

"Rosanna" is a million-selling Gold-certified hit single, 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 No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks, behind two songs, "Don't You Want Me" by The Human League and "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor.[1] 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.[2]

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

Composition and lyrics[edit]

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.[3]

The drum pattern is known as a "half-time shuffle", and shows "definite jazz influence".[4] Featuring ghost notes and derived from the combination of what Jeff Porcaro called the "Bernard Purdie half-time shuffle" (Purdie shuffle) as well as the variation thereof John Bonham played on "Fool in the Rain" with the well-known Bo Diddley beat. The Purdie shuffle can be prominently heard on Steely Dan's track "Home At Last" from Aja, which Jeff Porcaro cited as an influence.[5]

Music video[edit]

The video (directed by Steve Barron) 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.[6] 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.[citation needed] Despite not playing on the actual recording, new bassist Mike Porcaro (brother of Jeff and Steve) 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.


Guest musicians

Charts and certifications[edit]

Sample usage[edit]

Art of Noise used a one-second sample of "Rosanna" on their 1984 track "Beat Box (Diversion One)," featured on both Who's Afraid of the Art of Noise? and Daft. American Horror Story: Coven Evan Peters character Kyle Spencer is seen singing and dancing to Rosanna in a flashback.

Covers and parodies[edit]

  • Christian parody band ApologetiX parodied the song as "Hosanna" on their album Wise Up and Rock.
  • The Slovenian a cappella group and jazz choir Perpetuum Jazzile performed an a cappella version of the song at their Vokal Xtravaganzza concert in Ljubljana, Slovenia on November 9, 2010, a video of which was uploaded to YouTube on December 30, 2010.[12]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  2. ^ David Roberts British Hit Singles & Albums, Guinness World Records Limited
  3. ^ Tegnér, Anders. Toto Interview 1988 on YouTube. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  4. ^ Strong, Jeff (2006). Drums for Dummies, p.183. ISBN 0-471-79411-2.
  5. ^ "Jeff Porcaro: The Rosanna Shuffle",
  6. ^ "Cynthia Rhodes: Actress, Dancer, & Singer",
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Rosanna" chart history, Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Toto – Rosanna". Music Canada. 
  11. ^ "American single certifications – Toto – Rosanna". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  12. ^ Perpetuum Jazzile: Rosanna. YouTube. Accessed on September 15, 2012.

External links[edit]