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The Tokens — The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Album: Wimoweh: The Best of the Tokens
Avg rating:
7.1

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1473








Released: 1961
Length: 2:37
Plays (last 30 days): 3
(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)
(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)
(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)
(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)

In the jungle, the mighty jungle
The lion sleeps tonight
In the jungle, the quiet jungle
The lion sleeps tonight

(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)
(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)
(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)
(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)

Near the village, the peaceful village
The lion sleeps tonight
Near the village, the quiet village
The lion sleeps tonight

(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)
(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)
(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)
(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)

Hush my darling, don't fear my darling
The lion sleeps tonight
Hush my darling, don't fear my darling
The lion sleeps tonight

(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)
(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)
(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)
(A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh)
Comments (149)add comment
Keep playing it. For me at least. Looks like some others agree.
This is, by far, my favorite "a-wimoweh" song!!!
 Foggymountain wrote:

Make it stop!



PSD button is there. 
Sorta nostalgic, but really feels as if it belongs in the 'novelty song' category. Not something I need to hear more than once in a five year period.
*bursts through the door singing loudly, and very off key* 
Make it stop!
 Singletrack wrote:

Time to put this song out to pasture.
Or at least follow it up by the original song to ensure some royalties for Solomon Linda's legacy.



I would love to hear the original
not for me. skip!
soz...
Nice timing. I was humming this just this morning. 

Whoever sings those background vocals, has a really lovely voice.
Time to put this song out to pasture.
Or at least follow it up by the original song to ensure some royalties for Solomon Linda's legacy.
Say what you want, it's a 10! I want to give it a dozen of 10s!!!
I've always thought this is a lullaby of sorts. A parent reassuring their child that they need not be afraid; the lion is asleep. Go ahead and go to sleep yourself.
So the descendants of Linda won the rights case against Disney and "The Lion King". I take my son to see the show some years ago. They play about three bars of this song, as if to say "Don't forget this was our song".  Kind of jerky I thought. 
 xcranky_yankee wrote:

still would rather listen to my parents' Kingston Trio albums and hear the silly 'prelude to'



I have vague memories of my father's vinyl collection with Kingston Trio... Live at the Hungry I.  It had this song on it, I believe.
The high background vocals remind me of the Star Trek theme song... or maybe the other way around...
still would rather listen to my parents' Kingston Trio albums and hear the silly 'prelude to'
something about this, something about this, does not feel politically correct....
So the big lawsuit, Estate of Solomon Linda vs DISNEY. (Disney lost $$) I took my son to see Lion King, and at one part, they sing/play just a few bars of this. Like, just to tell us this was their song. I would think they could go ahead and pay for the rights. I wonder if this is still on the movie soundtrack? 
 timmus wrote:

Funny to think that Led Zeppelin's first album came out just seven years after this.  The 1960s, what a time of change.




Seven years is a long time...
From Wikipedia...

"Wimoweh", a mishearing of the chorus of 'uyimbube' (meaning "he is a lion")

This is essentially a lift of The Weavers version of this song. Which is fine. 
There's a video of these guys doing this song fairly recently. Lead singer still has the chops!
Funny to think that Led Zeppelin's first album came out just seven years after this.  The 1960s, what a time of change.
Mercifully short
Bubble Bee Tuna
Sorry. Couldn't help myself. 
Always loved this song.  Mandatory sing-along.


Simba Dancing GIF - Simba Dancing Pumba - Discover & Share GIFs
GODLIKE!!! ICONIC!!!
 aelfheld wrote:
Here's a nice analysis of the song & its history.
 

Thanks for posting that - it's worth reading every word and listening to all the cuts. I had no idea... and the original version from 1939 is terribly groovy. 
So undeniable.  Simple but heartfelt.  Don't say anything dumb about cultural appropriation.  Music is for all of us.
Godlike!
 tkosh wrote:

I know this post was two years ago, but it's funny because as soon as this song came on I looked up from my desk, turned the volume up, and smiled!
 

only a beautiful  soul could write this...
Has Bill been smoking something today?
a funny version (political content) parody version
I have no idea how I stumbled upon it, but I have a version of this in my library by The Nylons. I had to look them up. An a cappella group from Canada. I like it equally as well as the Tokens version.
Here's a nice analysis of the song & its history.
 jsd52756 wrote:
So, is it a females voice or a theremin in the back round...?  Either way it's cool.
 
It almost sounds like someone playing a saw.
 johnrah wrote:
 

And an update on how Pete responded to the issue of royalties..
https://www.latimes.com/archiv...
 bruceandjenna wrote:
At the age of 12, in a more innocent time, I thought this song was quite exotic , singing about lions in Africa.  Dunno if I thought The Tokens were African.
 

I was 9....same thing; thought they were African! Been a favorite since a
kid. Listened to them on KEZY- Orange County, California

hahahaha! First time hearing this here. Love it!
10 for the memories. and that Star Trek background singer.
 bruceandjenna wrote:
At the age of 12, in a more innocent time, I thought this song was quite exotic , singing about lions in Africa.  Dunno if I thought The Tokens were African.
 
Beautiful voices singing a fine song, listen to the lyrics - it's universal!
At the age of 12, in a more innocent time, I thought this song was quite exotic , singing about lions in Africa.  Dunno if I thought The Tokens were African.
So, is it a females voice or a theremin in the back round...?  Either way it's cool.
 redeyespy wrote:
Segue into TMBG's "The Guitar." Or not.
 
Dancing a conga line to that song at a TMBG show in a ballroom venue is one of the fonder memories of my whole life.

"Ev-ry-bo-dy con-ga!
I'm not fuck-ing kid-ding!"
Was really popular back in the day. For the life of me now I can’t see why.
Burn this record!!
 johnrah wrote:


Musicians often see no reward for their effort. But the guy that wrote this song will always be the guy that wrote it. That is making history. Much cooler than money.


 
Yeah.....   if you are poor Black African in that period, I guess so..... maybe.....

We are talking a material standard of living that most North Americans would have trouble comprehending.
 greenplato wrote:
I used to enjoy this song, but then I heard the story about Solomon Linda, the South African man who first recorded it as 'Mbube' in 1939. Because of his race, he was ineligible to receive royalties from the original recording and is said to have been paid only ten shillings for a record that sold 100,000 copies in SA. Additionally, the hundreds of western recordings and derivatives of his song have all been made without any compensation to Linda or his surviving family. His family recently went to the courts seeking royalties, but I don't know how successful they have been. Here's a little timeline of the song. And from another source, how Pete Seeger brought Mbube to American listeners:
Came a knock on the door, and, lo, there stood his friend Alan Lomax, later to be hailed as the father of world music. Alan and his dad, John, were already famous for their song-collecting forays into the parallel universe of rural black America, where they'd discovered giants like Muddy Waters and Leadbelly. Alan was presently working for Decca, where he'd just rescued a package of 78s sent from Africa by a record company in the vain hope that someone might want to release them in America. They were about to be thrown away when Lomax intervened, thinking, "God, Pete's the man for these". And here they were: ten shellac 78s, one of which said "Mbube" on its label. Pete put it on his old Victrola and sat back. He was fascinated - there was something catchy about the underlying chant, and that wild, skirling falsetto was amazing. "Golly", he said, "I can sing that". So he got out pen and paper and started transcribing the song, but he couldn't catch the words through all the hissing on the disk. The Zulus were chanting, "Uyimbube, uyimbube", but it to Pete it sounded like, awimboowee or maybe awimoweh, so that's how he wrote it down. Later he taught "Wimoweh" to the rest of his band, the Weavers, and it became, he says, "just about my favourite song to sing for the next forty years".
This song now leaves me feeling conflicted. I am glad to get the chance to hear this great music, but very sad for the man it was stolen from.
 

Musicians often see no reward for their effort. But the guy that wrote this song will always be the guy that wrote it. That is making history. Much cooler than money.
Garbage.  
Ok. Lions do not live in jungles. Tigers do. Still, it’s a good song. Give them a little room for… yeah, no, I can’t get past the lion in the jungle. Still.
Parafull wrote:

The lion in the JUNGLE? Lions don't live in the jungle, but mostly in
savannahs and other similar wide open areas. 
RobN wrote:

I sympathise with this comment. This lack of attention to detail destroys the song in my mind.  But I'm sure most would say: why let facts get in the way of a good song?
 
Well the 3 of us KNOW this and it's good to know others know where Lions live (or don't live in this case) - they are NOT the king of the jungle!!  Anyways, this is my first time hearing this here on RP, and my initial reaction was to rate it higher than average (an 8) though it might be a 7 with a +1 cuz my daughter likes it...so it's an 8...Long Live RP!!
 greenplato wrote:
I used to enjoy this song, but then I heard the story about Solomon Linda, the South African man who first recorded it as 'Mbube' in 1939. Because of his race, he was ineligible to receive royalties from the original recording and is said to have been paid only ten shillings for a record that sold 100,000 copies in SA. Additionally, the hundreds of western recordings and derivatives of his song have all been made without any compensation to Linda or his surviving family. His family recently went to the courts seeking royalties, but I don't know how successful they have been. Here's a little timeline of the song. And from another source, how Pete Seeger brought Mbube to American listeners:
Came a knock on the door, and, lo, there stood his friend Alan Lomax, later to be hailed as the father of world music. Alan and his dad, John, were already famous for their song-collecting forays into the parallel universe of rural black America, where they'd discovered giants like Muddy Waters and Leadbelly. Alan was presently working for Decca, where he'd just rescued a package of 78s sent from Africa by a record company in the vain hope that someone might want to release them in America. They were about to be thrown away when Lomax intervened, thinking, "God, Pete's the man for these". And here they were: ten shellac 78s, one of which said "Mbube" on its label. Pete put it on his old Victrola and sat back. He was fascinated - there was something catchy about the underlying chant, and that wild, skirling falsetto was amazing. "Golly", he said, "I can sing that". So he got out pen and paper and started transcribing the song, but he couldn't catch the words through all the hissing on the disk. The Zulus were chanting, "Uyimbube, uyimbube", but it to Pete it sounded like, awimboowee or maybe awimoweh, so that's how he wrote it down. Later he taught "Wimoweh" to the rest of his band, the Weavers, and it became, he says, "just about my favourite song to sing for the next forty years".
This song now leaves me feeling conflicted. I am glad to get the chance to hear this great music, but very sad for the man it was stolen from.
 
Not that I much cared for Pete Seeger before I found out about his theft of the tune, but that pretty much convinced me he was an out & out fraud.


For what it's worth, The Tokens didn't care for it. "We were embarrassed," said Phil Margo, "and tried to convince Hugo [Peretti] and Luigi [Creatore] not to release it."  




 Parafull wrote:
The lion in the JUNGLE? Lions don't live in the jungle, but mostly in 
savannahs and other similar wide open areas.
 
I sympathise with this comment. This lack of attention to detail destroys the song in my mind.  But I'm sure most would say: why let facts get in the way of a good song?
This is like a Disney version of the original. “Mbube” is so good so why play this? 
All Politics aside, this is one song that you just want to stop and listen to.   The song will live on forever.
The lion in the JUNGLE? Lions don't live in the jungle, but mostly in 
savannahs and other similar wide open areas.
R.E.M. did a great cover of this as a B-side to the Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite single
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!! Hilarious!
Can anyone listen to this with a straight-face? 

Perhaps poking a little bit of fun at our musical heritage...? 
 unclelonghair wrote:
There are a few songs played on Radio Paradise that make me stop what I'm doing, find a browser, log in, give the song a terrible rating and, maybe, if I'm annoyed enough, write a snarky comment here.  This is one of them.  I guess the RP folks think it's "fun" to play obnoxious songs that totally wreck the vibe but it makes my teeth itch.  Not in a good way.

 
I know this post was two years ago, but it's funny because as soon as this song came on I looked up from my desk, turned the volume up, and smiled!
There are a few songs played on Radio Paradise that make me stop what I'm doing, find a browser, log in, give the song a terrible rating and, maybe, if I'm annoyed enough, write a snarky comment here.  This is one of them.  I guess the RP folks think it's "fun" to play obnoxious songs that totally wreck the vibe but it makes my teeth itch.  Not in a good way.
A 6.4 rating? C'mon people, this is a great song!
 
Really? Not played in over 6 years? How remiss! The gap can be brought down to 4 in my view.
18 B-3 on the college karioki machine.  This always reminds me of driving in the summer in my mom's Blue Ford Econoline from the pool in the 1970's, listening to WCBS FM in NY.  Thanks Bill.  
One of the best earworms ever!!!
 WonderLizard wrote:

Just wanted to bring this to the front page. Rian Malan, a South African writer, told Solomon Linda's story in Rolling Stone in May, 2000. This link is to a reprint of the story. It's worth reading. https://www.3rdearmusic.com/forum/mbube2.html. It's the same link as "another source" above.

Linda's family sued Disney in 2004 for their using the song in The Lion King, Apparently, tho' Disney was fighting the suit, there has been some movement toward settlement, resulting in cash payments to Linda's family. Linda died in 1962. I'm still looking for some verification of this. Anyone?

 
The whole sad story is here, as well:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lion_Sleeps_Tonight
To his credit Pete Seeger did try to do the right thing by Linda.


 greenplato wrote:
I used to enjoy this song, but then I heard the story about Solomon Linda, the South African man who first recorded it as 'Mbube' in 1939. Because of his race, he was ineligible to receive royalties from the original recording and is said to have been paid only ten shillings for a record that sold 100,000 copies in SA. Additionally, the hundreds of western recordings and derivatives of his song have all been made without any compensation to Linda or his surviving family. His family recently went to the courts seeking royalties, but I don't know how successful they have been. Here's a little timeline of the song. And from another source, how Pete Seeger brought Mbube to American listeners: This song now leaves me feeling conflicted. I am glad to get the chance to hear this great music, but very sad for the man it was stolen from.
 
Just wanted to bring this to the front page. Rian Malan, a South African writer, told Solomon Linda's story in Rolling Stone in May, 2000. This link is to a reprint of the story. It's worth reading. https://www.3rdearmusic.com/forum/mbube2.html. It's the same link as "another source" above.

Linda's family sued Disney in 2004 for their using the song in The Lion King, Apparently, tho' Disney was fighting the suit, there has been some movement toward settlement, resulting in cash payments to Linda's family. Linda died in 1962. I'm still looking for some verification of this. Anyone?

 GChevy410 wrote:
Good call Bill!

I am sitting here reading dire economic consequences that we seem to be unable to escape, and for some reason this really fits.

The lion is the free market.
The jungle is the myriad of crap out there hold the free market.

We are boned...
 

I am not sure I fully understand the metaphor, but the "We are boned..." part made me spit my coffee out all over my monitor I laughed so hard...
!Lions sleeping 2
Oh yea,,love it !

 cactus7709 wrote:
What a surprise!! What a NICE surprise!!
 
{#High-five} Yes, nice to hear a golden oldie once in a while. I wouldn't mind hearing some Del Shannon.

When this song came out I always thought it was a rip off of the song "Way up North to Alaska" as it seems to be the same tune with different words..But I like this song better though {#Music}
 fredriley wrote:
Super-cheesy, super-fun :o). You must also see a short animation of a hippo singing this song.  An easy 7 from the Nottingham jury.
 
Love that hippo!  The verdict of the Nottingham jury is affirmed on appeal.

ow.
 Pieter wrote:
Well that got a reaction from everyone in the room...
 
{#Lol}

From back in the day when band members wore matching ensembles.
In 1964, when my oldest brother was leaving for the Navy - he entrusted his collection of 45s to a very upset little sister (me) for safekeeping until his return.  This was one of my two favorites in the tin - the other was P,P & M - Puff the Magic Dragon.  Thanks, James.
Thanks 'The Office'.  I now associate this song with Andy Bernard.


Yuck — if I wanted oldies I'd flip on that FM radio gizmo over there in the corner.  The yodeling makes my teeth itch.
What a surprise!! What a NICE surprise!!
Last two comments summarise so well why I love RP!

This song?  Bit of cheese never hurt anyone.  Makes the great songs outstanding.
My mellow's been harshed!  I had to set up an account just to log in and rate this song.  Too bad there's nothing lower than a "1."  I would be so pleased if Bill and Rebecca never played this song again!
 

I love Oldies, but very rarely the ones played on RP.   This is an exception. I love this.


This song has always been so much fun!  It always makes me grin, as I am now.  Thank you!!
Super-cheesy, super-fun :o). You must also see a short animation of a hippo singing this song.  An easy 7 from the Nottingham jury.

Just a unique and wonderful song!{#Clap}


Well done, Bill :oD.
i love this place

nice mix Bill

Elvis Costello - Deep Dark Truthful Mirror

Beatles - I'm So Tired

and now

The Tokens - The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Beautiful Hand Crafted Radio


They look like they've taken a radio station tower hostage.  But in a friendly way.
No Thanks
I've liked all the versions I've heard of this song.  This was the first one but I've also heard Pete Seeger do a version in a more "folk" style.  It was on a live recording where he got the crowd to sing along.  The emphasis was also on the African word Wimoweh, not the lion sleeps parts.  I do agree that the falsetto voices really added something to this version.
 Dancing_banana wrote:
love the sweaters!
 
I still own mine.  Wonder if I should put it on eBay?

A sad story about royalties on Wikipedia. I've always loved this song.
Commin at cha from 1961!
{#Ask}
 olivestreetprods wrote:
I was SOOOO in love with Cheryl Davis in the fifth grade when this came out. Oh Cheryl, if you only knew!
 
She most likely knew and felt the same way ... there, feel better now?  Go ahead, call her up ...

Well that got a reaction from everyone in the room...
I was SOOOO in love with Cheryl Davis in the fifth grade when this came out. Oh Cheryl, if you only knew!
{#Dancingbanana} natalita wrote:
I agree!

 
Dancing_banana wrote:
love the sweaters!
 
 


A classic!  Thanks for playing.
Made me think of Madagasgar 2
Good call Bill!

I am sitting here reading dire economic consequences that we seem to be unable to escape, and for some reason this really fits.

The lion is the free market.
The jungle is the myriad of crap out there hold the free market.

We are boned...
Aweemawack, aweemawack...
I agree!

 
Dancing_banana wrote:
love the sweaters!
 


Yeah, well wtf was the lion doing all the other nights? Huh?
love the sweaters!
greenplato wrote:
I used to enjoy this song, but then I heard the story about Solomon Linda...
I heard that story on NPR last week. Towards the end they played a Taj Mahal version (or collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo?). I couldn't find any reference to that cut on AMG or Amazon -- anyone know where that's from?
You've got to appreciate a song that was one of the best laugh lines in a Disney movie. (Lion King)
Doesn't get any better than this! Better than comfort food.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "the Tokens can still be seen on the county-fair circuit. The original brothers are still leading the group, and one of their sons is the drummer. Not bad, as those rehash-the-50s things go, and if you've never seen 'em before, you will have a good time. I saw 'em twice, a year or so apart, and the schtick was the same. So once: good. Twice: not so much. But totally live, no canned tapes etc., which you sometimes get with this stuff. And they can still do the falsetto. The history of this song is interesting and very cloudy, with these guys claiming authorship in large part but it ain't probably so. I believe Vanity Fair ran a story tracing its roots and generally making everyone look pretty bad." I believe it was a Andean folk song first popularized Yma Sumac. There is a version floating around on one of her compilation discs. Very few lyrics thou. Mostly her fabulous airy soprano voice. Can't find the reference at the moment, but here are links for info. https://www.spaceagepop.com/sumac.htm https://www.sunvirgin.com/
courtney wrote:
Always nice to see the castrati getting some airtime. I dig it.
courtney wrote:
Always nice to see the castrati getting some airtime. I dig it.
funny!!!!
The band called Big Daddy did a pretty bizarre hybrid of this and "Welcome to the Jungle," by Guns and Roses. Surreal fun.
You so needed to be there...
Always nice to see the castrati getting some airtime. I dig it.
UltraNurd wrote:
This is a classic. Sure, it's ridiculous, ridiculously AWESOME.
hep hep yep yep
This is a classic. Sure, it's ridiculous, ridiculously AWESOME.
those can't possibly be the singers of this song on the album cover...which one's the soprano?? Would they even know what a wingawet means?