David Paich

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The internet’s finest Africa* reference™

*That’s the song, “Africa”, not the continent, of course

Kilimanjaro rising like itself above the Tsavo.
Olympus, rising like Olympus, above — I don’t know — Thessaloniki or something.

Click the ᐅ to expand:

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Writer, in toto[1], of the worst rock lyric in history, but a gnarly dude all the same. This is the chap who confected this magnificent beast of a pop lyric:

I know that I must do what’s right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti[2]

Where to start?

For one thing, Kilimanjaro doesn’t rise above the Serengeti. You can’t even see it from the Serengeti, unless you get in a hot air balloon and take a telescope: they’re about 250 kilometres from each other.

And not just because it is a long way away. It is literally over the horizon. Let’s be fully scientific about this. From the ground, all but the top 900m of a 6,000 metre mountain would be over the horizon.[3] 900meters at 250km would appear about 4mm high, if you could even see it through nearby trees (with or without napping leopresses), haze, atmospheric perspective etc. This is not really rising at all, let alone majestically, like Olympus might (if it weren’t already rising above a national park in Greece, of course).

Kilimanjaro rises above the Tsavo national park.[4]

And Mount Olympus definitely doesn’t rise above the Serengeti. It’s in Greece.

To the extent you could say that something that has just sat there for millions of years does anything as energetic as “rising”, then Kilimanjaro doesn’t rise like Olympus, either. It rises like Kilimanjaro. They don’t look anything like each other. I mean, look.

And we haven’t even got onto the fact that THE LINE DOESN’T SCAN FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.

  2. Written, allegedly by David Paich (well: no one else in Toto seems prepared to claim responsibility for it).
  3. Check it out for yourself at this earth curvature calculator.
  4. Why didn’t he put “Tsavo”? It would have scanned better.