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Weezer Scores First Alternative Songs No. 1 in 10 Years With ‘Africa’ Cover

The band also boasts the chart's first No. 1 remake since 2004.

Thirty-five years after Toto‘s “Africa” ruled the Billboard Hot 100, the song is back atop a Billboard chart, thanks to Weezer‘s remake.

Weezer’s cover crowns Billboard‘s Alternative Songs airplay tally dated Aug. 11, rising 2-1. The song’s recording was inspired by an online campaign to get Weezer to cover it after a teen Weezer fan heard Toto’s original on Netflix’s Stranger Things.

“Africa” is the first remake to top Alternative Songs since 311‘s rendition of The Cure‘s “Love Song” in May 2004; notably, the cover one-upped the original, which hit No. 2 on Alternative Songs in 1989.

“Africa” is the sixth ruling redo overall, dating to Camper Van Beethoven‘s rendition of Status Quo‘s “Pictures of Matchstick Men” in October 1989, a year after the list’s launch.

No. 1 Cover Songs on Alternative Songs

“Africa,” Weezer, reached No. 1 on the chart dated Aug. 11, 2018 (original: Toto)

“Love Song,” 311, May 11, 2004 (original: The Cure)

“Smooth Criminal,” Alien Ant Farm, Aug. 25, 2001 (original: Michael Jackson)

“Into Your Arms,” The Lemonheads, Nov. 6, 1993 (original: Love Positions)
“Nothing Compares 2 U,” Sinead O’Connor, March 31, 1990 (original: The Family; written by Prince)

“Pictures of Matchstick Men,” Camper Van Beethoven, Oct. 21, 1989 (original: Status Quo)

“Africa” is Weezer’s fourth Alternative Songs No. 1 and first since “Pork and Beans,” which ruled for 11 weeks in 2008. The group’s other leaders: “Perfect Situation” (four weeks, 2006) and “Beverly Hills” (one, 2005).

While Weezer’s 10-year break from the top of the chart is lengthy, it’s two years shy of the longest dry spell, set by Beck last year when “Up All Night” ruled the tally 12 years and eight months after his previous chart-topper, “E-Pro,” in 2005.

The chart coronation of “Africa” continues a rejuvenation for Weezer, which has scored three top 10s since the beginning of 2017 after going two-and-a-half years without a top 10. The song also jumps 4-2 on the all-rock-format Rock Airplay with 10.2 million audience impressions (up 8 percent), according to Nielsen Music. The gain is assisted by the track’s 38-37 lift on the Adult Alternative Songs chart.


The track concurrently leaps 86-68 on the streaming-, airplay- and sales-based, all-genre Hot 100, marking Weezer’s highest rank since “Beans” reached No. 64 in June 2008. “Africa” has also crossed over to adult pop radio; it climbs 14-11 on Adult Pop Songs, nearing the band’s best rank (No. 8), set by “Beverly Hills” in 2005. “Africa” is additionally bubbling under the Pop Songs airplay chart, where Weezer last appeared with “Beverly Hills.”

Earlier this week, Toto returned Weezer’ favor, covering the latter’s “Hash Pipe,” a No. 2 Alternative Songs hit in 2001. The bands have traded remakes of late, with Weezer first covering Toto’s “Rosanna” as a tease before releasing “Africa”; Toto’s originals reached Nos. 2 and 1 on the Hot 100 in 1982 and 1983, respectively.