Only 80s Music Video Shot in a Law Library,
at least that I know of: Toto's Africa. Oh, sure, the guy pretends that he's looking for some sort of map or picture of an African statue, all Indiana-Jones-like. But those are law books on the shelves.

I've long wondered what it means to "bless the rains," but at least according to this site, even the members of Toto thought the lyrics didn't make any sense.

  (Incidentally, neither the Volokh Conspiracy collectively or any of the bloggers individually are in any way liable or responsible if you can't get this song out of your head the next time you're in a law library. Nor are we responsible for the content of the video. View at your own risk.)
Ex parte McCardle:
The American Law Institute informs me that they do not allow their members to post Toto videos in public forums. They'll be dealing with you shortly, OrinKerr. You've been warned.
3.16.2009 4:29pm
Ignorance was bliss (Why the Internet isn't as good as sliced bread.)

I misunderstood the lyrics to be "I miss the rains down in Africa." While not quite in the league of "Sounds of Silence," not entirely awful. Of course, the internet provided the truth and forever altered my opinion of the body of work of the band. (I formerly owned 4 or 5 albums).

Now I wish I people would forget this song entirely, but it comes up often.
3.16.2009 4:33pm
Hah, you're too late! And Toto is just the beginning....
3.16.2009 4:33pm
David Shulman (mail) (www):
What 80's music video is filmed in a library (not necessarily a law one), and features both a monkey in a Red Sox jersey and a Chassid (or an Amish, I can't tell).

Answer below:
3.16.2009 4:37pm
Stephen Schweizer (mail):
David: Without looking, you must mean "Head Over Heels," by Tears for Fears.
3.16.2009 4:47pm
Stephen: I am deeply disturbed that you could even make a guess at that.

Professor Kerr: Is a "Journey" video next on the menu?
3.16.2009 4:52pm
A Law Dawg:

Please don't tempt Orin into doing something (else) we will all regret.
3.16.2009 4:55pm
ASlyJD (mail):
Curse you! I didn't even watch the clip (in class and all that) and I caught the ear worm.
3.16.2009 5:02pm
It's not from the 1980s, so Orin's thesis remains intact, but Cascada's 2005 "Everytime We Touch" music video was also shot in a law library, complete with breakdancing law librarian:
3.16.2009 5:04pm :
Toto is unspeakably lame. Although at least "Africa" is better than the execrable "Roseanna."

But both highlight Toto's unique nasal tonality, which is capable of peeling paint off of Datsuns.

And now both those songs are stuck in my head.

Only one thing to do: hum "Brick House" by the Commodores. It drives out all other ear worm songs, and it's no problem being stuck on it, because it totally rocks.
3.16.2009 5:40pm
Houston Lawyer:
Toto should only be listened to on Jensen 6 by 9 triaxal speakers boosted by a 20 watt Kraco power booster. I had those installed in my dad's 1964 Ford Fairlane in 1977. Since we were an hour from the big city, FM tended to wander and fade.
3.16.2009 5:48pm
Case2L (mail):
Toto is not as lame as this...
3.16.2009 5:51pm
Steve H (mail):
Law books show up all the time on TV. I was watching "Chuck" last night with my wife, and the bookshelf behind the General was filled with the dark blue Federal Practice Digest, I believe.

I guess it's because they are so uniform, but they're everywhere.

(Or maybe they're just haunting me?)
3.16.2009 5:53pm
R Gould-Saltman (mail):
I'm voting that it's a fake law library. Even back in the 80's, before folks began jettisoning, and no longer subscribing to, paper copy case reporters, old law office libraries were already a source of "books by the yard" for decor purposes. They're uniform in size, they have pretty, uniformly colored backs (many have gold trim). I remember being either in a hotel lobby "library" or a tweedy men's clothing store in California, back in the 80's, a relatively newly minted lawyer, and noticing that there was a shelf full of Florida Appellate reports from the 1950's lining one "bookshelf". Looked nice, though.

BTW "Brick House" cures many earworms. Parliament/Funkadelic will also do, in a pinch. "Funk not only moves, it can remove, dig?"
3.16.2009 5:54pm
BRoy (mail):
I remember when I was a kid my grandfather used to take me to lunch at a steak house near the the capital in Austin, and the shelves were lined with law books, he once got in an argument with a colleague and they settled it by first searching for and finding a circular from the commercial code from 1930. (I still feel a sense of inferiority when I think about this) When I think of the utility of things like kindle and blackberrys I always remember this.
3.16.2009 6:16pm
One Man's View:
Actually, law books make frequent appearances in TV, video and movie for three inter-related reasons: 1) They look "professional" with the leather-like bindings; 2) They typically look "uniform" so that they create a single vision image [I once knew an interior designer who ordered F.3ds for an office of a medical doctor because the color and symmetry fit the design] and 3) Most importantly, there are lots of them on remainder -- think of all the Statutes at Large that get rotated off shelves or the old F.2ds that libraries don't want or need anymore. This is =especially= true more now when libraries in law firms are downsizing the space to reduce costs and directing lawyers to Westlaw and other electronic holdings.

How do I know this -- had to buy some "official looking books" for an amateur theater once. Law books were a dime a dozen. I'm guessing the set designer who was asked to do the Toto video set just got was was available and cheap.
3.16.2009 6:40pm
ForestGirl (mail):
"BLESS the rains"? Learn something new everyday on the VC. I always thought it was "GUESS the rains," i.e., rain in Africa was something so exciting it would drag him away from her. That, at least, made some kind of sense.
3.16.2009 6:41pm
David Shulman -

The Literal Version of "Head Over Heels" is much better.

The series also includes "Under the Bridge" and "Take on Me" ("Pipe wrench fiiight!"), but this is my fave.
3.16.2009 6:47pm
Adam B. (www):
"There's nothing that a hundred men on Mars could ever do."

Or something like that.
3.16.2009 6:54pm
I'm voting that it's a fake law library.

Well yes, I would also assume that there is no real law library that would let a film crew topple over the shelves, set everything on fire, throw javelins, etc...
3.16.2009 7:24pm
Wow. There, is, literally, a spear chucker in the video. To convey, I guess, the general "Africaness" of it all.

Somehow, I don't think that'd be able to slip by in a music video today.
3.16.2009 7:41pm
Three questions for Toto. Why do half the members of the group themseles look like librarians? More pressingly, why do they look like lady librarians? Why is a song about an incredibly evocative whole continent represented by library books? Had they not seen the video for "Rio?" One can take cameras out of doors, you know.

I do not question the choice to zoom in on a globe every time Africa is mentioned. That is very classy.
3.16.2009 8:11pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
Toto seems to be love em or hate em. They did have a great formula, catching songs and great musicians. You may not like their style but guys like Steve Lukather can play circles around you.
3.16.2009 8:24pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
I misunderstood the lyrics to be "I miss the rains down in Africa."

I thought it was "I taste the rains down in Africa."
3.16.2009 8:26pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
Is a "Journey" video next on the menu?

I have a feeling that someone is going to mention "Kansas" next in a pejorative sense. As a Kansas fanatic and a blogger, one of my blog-goals is to "inform" the masses that whatever you think of the prog-rock genre (Yes, ELP, Gensis, Rush) Kansas belongs in THAT box, not the AOR box with Toto, Journey and Boston.

Check out an unknown prog-rock gem from Kansas entilted "Opus Insert," of which you've probably never heard.
3.16.2009 8:36pm
I never really listened to the lyrics before, but now that I have, "Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like olympus above the Serengeti" has my vote as most awkward line in an 80's pop song.
3.16.2009 9:31pm

Uh ... I think that's, rises like a LEOPRESS above the serengeti. You know, a female leper.

I always liked this song, but what an awful video. I mean, what was the budget for this thing? $10? It looks like they shot it in somebody's garage. Five dorky white guys with enormous rimmed glasses and sweatshirts like they were just coming back from aerobics class. What's more evocative of Africa than that?
3.16.2009 9:57pm
NickM (mail) (www):
In my experience, It's A Small World works better than any other song to drive out the song that's currently stuck in your head.

3.16.2009 10:00pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
Hey, "Dust in the Wind" was my class song in high school (small town, central Michigan). At the ceremony, I played guitar, two female classmates sang, my friend Rodger played the violin solo on an old synthesizer . . . It must have been truly awful and I am eternally grateful that this was before everything everywhere got recorded and put on the internet.
3.16.2009 10:09pm

thx for the Brick House tip. And the inevitable follow up...

Don't blame me. College parties.
3.16.2009 10:52pm
Of those dissing Toto, how many are musicians? Of course you can still hate them while acknowledging their technical skill (much as I despise the Eagles's music but know they are highly capable and talented), I'm just curious. As a guitar player, Steve Lukather was always kickass, no matter how absurd the lyrics. Not that he did anything in this particular song.

Orin, thanks for posting this!
3.16.2009 11:33pm
trad and anon (mail):
In my experience, It's A Small World works better than any other song to drive out the song that's currently stuck in your head.
You are a bad, bad person, NickM.
3.16.2009 11:59pm
Dave N (mail):
I misunderstood the lyrics to be "I miss the rains down in Africa."

I thought it was "I taste the rains down in Africa."
And, of course, the actual lyric is, "I bless the rains down in Africa."

All equally incoherent--but hey, who actually LISTENS to the lyrics anyway?

(Of course, I thought the lyrics were, "I make the rains down in Africa", which also makes zero sense)
3.17.2009 2:47am
Dave N (mail):

I don't know which is scarier--that you are right or that you knew about the other video in the first place.
3.17.2009 2:54am
I always wondered why Toto were browsing through case reports in this video while some inappropriately well-dressed student tried to study for her exams.
3.17.2009 7:32am
MJH21 (mail):
Toto is responsible for two of the worst songs of the 80's: "Africa" and "Rosana" - awful, awful songs (IMHO)that were in constant rotation.

Volokh should have and strictly enforce a "No Toto" policy.
3.17.2009 8:47am
sonicfrog (mail) (www):
I have the perfect cure for this earworm....


Here it goes...

"Lola, She was a showgirl..."

PS. big fan of the musicians in Toto, but the lyrics, well. Trivia, the keyboard player David Paich also wrote Boz Skaggs "Lowdown".
3.17.2009 9:58am
Ex parte McCardle:
Probably nobody's interested in this anymore, but I think One Man's View back at 6:40 last night is right--law books turn up on TV because they're uniform in appearance and uniformly "impressive" looking [their content is another matter]. I've always been amused by scenes on TV set in the office of a college professor and the bookshelves are full of old Reader's Digest Condensed Books.
3.17.2009 11:12am
Teh Anonymous:
Quick! Does anything trump "Yellow Submarine"?
3.17.2009 1:24pm

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