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Rosanna

by

Toto



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song got its name from the actress Rosanna Arquette, who was dating Toto keyboard player Steve Porcaro at the time. 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. It would not be the last time Arquette dated a musician: she had a turbulent relationship with Peter Gabriel in the early '90s, and in 2007, she went on some dates with Paul McCartney.
This song caused some justifiable confusion, as it was written by David Paich, inspired by Steve Porcaro's girlfriend, yet sung by lead singer Bobby Kimball. Many listeners assumed it was Kimball who was involved with Arquette.
The girl who played Rosanna in the video will look familiar to fans of the movie Dirty Dancing: it's Cynthia Rhodes, who played Penny Johnson in the movie. Patrick Swayze is also in the video, but much less visible - that's him wearing the red jacket among Rosanna's suitors. The West Side Story-style dance fighting was used in the clip almost a year before Michael Jackson did it in his video for "Beat It." Even more trivia: Rhodes is married to Richard Marx.
This won a Grammy for Record Of The Year and helped Toto IV win for Album Of The Year.
Toto's first seven albums contained at least one song with a girl's name as the title.
Toto
More Toto songs
More songs with girls' names in the title
More songs inspired by actors
More songs in heavy rotation in the early days of MTV
More songs written for a girl

Comments (30):

Actually, Jeff Procaro did die from a heart attack. "The Los Angeles County Coroner's office lists the cause of death to be a heart attack from atherosclerosis induced by cocaine use, not from an allergic reaction to the pesticides as presumed (and stated by Toto in the band's official history) immediately after his death." - Wikipedia
- Roann, Apalachin, NY
actually Jeff Porcaro did not die frum a drug induced Heart attack It was brought on by a sever allergic reaction to insecticide
- Dillon, orlando, FL
James Newton Howard was married to Rosanna Arquette from 1986-1987. He was a friend of the band and had a substantial roll in Toto IV. He also writes scores for Hollywood movies.
- diverdriver, Petaluma, CA
I worked in the industry at the time and was around the studios in those days, but learned this more from watching interviews than anything else. Yes it is true that Steve Porcaro was the one dating Rosanna Arquette at the time, and I witnessed this first hand, but David Paich wrote the song and I know this as a fact from the time of them working on it and from later interviews, and it was not written about Rosanna Arquette. David Paich wrote it about a former lover of his, though he is not one to share such things, and chose not to use her name. Having left the name blank, David brought the song to the groups and they decided together to use the name Rosana. I believe it was Lukather who made the suggestion, so perhaps this is where the confusion comes from. Ms. Arquette was very amiable and much liked by the guys in the band so it was easy to agree. I think just about every guy who met the girl at that time was in love with her so it was an excellent choice. As for those posting jokes about the death of a very talented and fine man, I can not imagine you have ever had any dealings with death of those close to you. Try to have some respect.
- shelby, los angeles, CA
The song is not about Rosanna Arquette. She and keyboardist Steve Porcaro were dating however the song was written by David Paich and already finished by the time of the breakup. Paich needed a name that fit well in the chorus so he used her name. The song is said to have no meaning to the relationship, it was just a coincidence she and Porcaro broke up
- Bryan, Worcester, MA
this is a great song. its in a new time life collection called Ultimate Rock Ballads collection and my mom knew EVERY SINGLE SNIPPET that they played. this is one of those songs that i like BECAUSE it came from a cd comercial/infomercial but i knew a lot of them also. NOT AS MANY AS MY MOM THOUGH!
- Melissa, Loxahatchee, FL
TO: Sara, Silver Spring, MD
Lukather himself has stated that the band was named after the dog in the W.O.O.
No it was *NOT* a heartattack it was an allergic reaction from a pestacide that killed him.
TO: Kev, Sc--thorpe, England
Rosanne never dated Lukather. She dated Steve Pocaro.
- K, Dallas, TX
The real truth is not p[reety! its about an under age girl(my mom) who had to go into a mental hopital!
- YunYun, forks, WA
Was Val Kilmer in the video too?
- Lisa Hawks, Shreveport, LA
To Don in Bowling Green, KY: The lead male dancer is Patrick Swayze.
- Kim, Pikeville, TN
Rosanna Arquette also appeared in the video
- Dale, Santa Fe, NM
FYI the name Toto was derived from an African or Latin phrase not from the famous Hollywood canine.
If you go to the Toto website you'd be shocked on how many bands and artists they played with. Truly one of the greatest session bands of all time!
- Sara, Silver Spring, MD
No Jeff Porcaro suffered a heart attack brought on by drugs. His brother Steve who dated Rosanna also had written several film scores.
- Sara, Silver Spring, MD
"Rosanna" was written about Steve Porcaro's then-girlfriend, actress Rosanna Lauren Arquette. She starred "Desperately Seeking Susan" (1985), but was eclipsed by her co-star Madonna.
- Michael, Ponce, Puerto Rico, Other
To: Jay, Paris, TN...
"I Won't Hold You Back" debuted in March 12, 1983 and made #10 in the Billboard Charts (USA). The others top 10 of TOTO were "Hold The Line" (#5 in 1979), "Rosanna" (#2 in 1982) & "Africa" (#1 in 1983). "I'll Be Over You" was #1 in Adult Contemporary Charts (1986).
- Michael, Ponce, Puerto Rico, Other
The unique drum beat in this song is called the "Purdie Shuffle" after famed studio drummer Bernard Purdie, who invented the drumbeat. This drumbeat (and drummer) is heard on "Babylon Sisters" by Steely Dan
- Matt, Raleigh, NC
This song has been covered by Drew, Dave, and Scott Wilson many times. They recently made an appearance at Vintage Tavern and Dave's Dirty Deck.
- drew, atlanta, GA
There is a dancer in the music video "Rosanna" that looks a lot like Patrick Swayze. The dancing gang-member who takes off the red jacket at the 4:20 mark.

Anyone know if it was him? The song and video were released in 1982. No mention on IMDB about it.

Here is a link to the music video:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuD746QqPp4&mode=related&search=
- Don, B G, KY
according to a Toto website big Jeff died whilst gardening at home from an allergic reaction to pesticide, how Rock 'N'Roll lol

Great drummer and great band my favouriteby them is Pamela

Shabba
- Rob, Leeds , England
I read that Jeff Porcaro died froman allergic reaction to pesticide whilst gardening lol hardly a rock 'n' roll ending to life
- Rob, Leeds , England
i dont know why mccartney's jenny wren remindes me of this song..love them both..
- ariana, lima, Peru
Best song of Toto is Angela!!
- Jelmer, Nieuw-weerdinge, Netherlands
I am just curious why only "Africa" and "Roseanna" are mentioned. What about "Home of the Brave"? By far their the best TOTO song!!!
- Sjoerd, Groningen, Norway
Most of the band were studio cats that did alot for hire, if I am correct they even did theme music (like Ironside, etc), before Toto.
The drummer also died of an overdose, after Toto
- PHIL, San Jose, CA
This song was played in the first episode of a video show devoted to 70s and 80s music about 12 years ago - the first time I'd heard of these guys who are now my favourite band of all-time! The "TOTO IV" album actually yielded 5 charting singles in total.
- Brett, Auckland, New Zealand
They also had aome success with a third song from the TOTO IV album. Its title is "I Won't Hold You Back Now". I believe it made it to the US Top 100 but failed to break the top 40.
- Jay, Paris, TN
The third - and last - of three major hits for Toto, the others of course being "Hold The Line" and "Africa". A couple of the members of Toto (including Bobby Kimball, David Paich and Steve Lukather) also appeared in the line-up of a band called the Far Corporation, who had a UK Top 10 hit in 1985 with a cover version of the Led Zeppelin classic, "Stairway To Heaven".
- Dave, Cardiff, Wales
At the 1982 Grammy's " Rosanna" won awards for Record of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance, and Best Instrumental Arrangement with Vocals, while the albumn "Toto IV" won awards for Albumn of the Year, Best Engineered Recording, and Best Producer
- Wes, New Orleans, LA
No, Arquette didn't date Steve Lukather, but Steve Porcaro.

It's a common mistake made by the media, and also published in a number of encyclopedias.
- Rheppa, A small one, Denmark
There seems to be a mix up in the names.
Rosanna Arquette was girlfriend of Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, on keyboard was David Paich, Drums Jeff Porcaro and Vocals Bobby Kimball.
- Kev, Scunthorpe, England
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