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Primary Wave Buys Toto Drummer’s Publishing Catalog, Master Royalties for $30M

Primary Wave Music has purchased the publishing catalog and master royalties of Toto drummer and co-writer Jeff Porcaro for approximately $30 million, according to a source close to the deal.  The acquisition arrives at the end of a massive year of catalog growth for the independent publisher and rights holder by adding Porcaro’s portion of master royalties and publishing of Toto’s chart topping hits like the Grammy-winning 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 band’s only No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. The tune returned to the Hot 100 chart decades later after it was covered by Weezer in 2018. But the perennial hit was more of an accident than anything else, by Porcaro’s own admission. It began as an African-style percussion loop, using fake marimba sounds on his Yamaha GS-1 synthesizer. From there, the band’s members recorded the drum to tape and looped it for hours as they wrote the melody and other parts.

The rest is pop music history.

Porcaro, however, was more than just the drummer and writer for Toto. Prior to his work with the band, Porcaro made a name for himself as the touring drummer for Steely Dan and Boz Scaggs. The late-musician was also considered one of the best session musicians of his day, playing in the background of 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 many decades and roles, Porcaro remains one of the defining musicians of the late 20th century. He passed away in 1992 at the age of 38 after experiencing a heart attack.

“Being one of the millions of fans to scream the chorus of ‘Africa’ at the top of my lungs on several occasions, this is certainly another thrilling moment in Primary Wave history,” says Adam Lowenberg, CMO of Primary Wave Music. He continues, “Quite simply, Jeff Porcaro belongs on the Mount Rushmore of great American drummers. We are honored to work with Jeff’s wife, Susan, and their sons, to ensure that his legacy is recognized by generations to come.”

Susan Porcaro, Jeff’s wife, added “As the home of legends, we feel Primary Wave is the perfect partner to continue to protect Jeff’s musical legacy.”