The Lion Sleeps Tonight
April 30, 2005 2:45 PM   Subscribe

Excellent post, peacay. I remember that Dave Marsh said in Heart Of Rock And Soul that it was gratifyingly ironic that this supposedly slight, "commercial" doo-woppy pop number's history was actually closer to the folk tradition than anything the stuffy folkies had ever come up with.

Also, R.E.M.'s version of the song is great, since it suits Stipes voice to a T.
posted by jonmc at 3:02 PM on April 30, 2005

jonmc, don't forget They Might Be Giants' version in which the lion hijacks a spaceship.

Nice post, by the way.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 3:16 PM on April 30, 2005

Thanks for this post did not know of singingfish either so double cool
posted by RecordBrother at 3:36 PM on April 30, 2005

Great post!
posted by dhoyt at 4:20 PM on April 30, 2005

Video (4.6MB mpeg)
posted by I EAT TAPES at 4:22 PM on April 30, 2005

There's a wonderful unhandled editorial note in the second link. Sic:
He toned down his politics [REWORD, RE OUR CONVERSATION], excised references to dark sexual lusts from Leadbelly standards, and threw some hokey cowboy songs into the mix.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:51 PM on April 30, 2005

RecordBrother, your blog rocks, BTW. Glad to see you here.
posted by jonmc at 6:56 PM on April 30, 2005

wow thanks. I've always kinda liked "in the jungle" but had no idea about the history of it. I found a recording of solomon linda's mbube on p2p and it is fundamentally cool.
posted by lastobelus at 7:07 PM on April 30, 2005

This post from last year was better.
posted by page404 at 7:07 PM on April 30, 2005

That 'obscure DJ' from your second link, Dick "The Derby" Smith, is my father-in-law! The A side of the Token's single was a bust, but The Derb made a point of listening to the B sides of all the singles sent to his show. He did a 'breakfast club' format as opposed to a top 40 show, so he wasn't under as much pressure to sort through stacks of singles. When he decided to add "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" to his rotation, the 45s had already been taken out of circulation. It took several weeks for the record company to distribute the new pressings to the local record stores; the heavy requests combined with the scarcity of product may have gone a long way toward making the song such a hit. I know he's always been proud of breaking that song (well, as proud as a dyed in the wool yankee can allow himself to be.) He still exchanges Xmas cards with a few members of the Tokens. Thanks for the post, peakay!
posted by maryh at 9:41 PM on April 30, 2005

I've got the 78 RPM of the Weavers somewhere... somewhere. Maybe it's with the copy of 'Sweet Georgia Brown' by Brother Bones and his Shadows or 'Chasin' with Chase' by Lionel Hampton.


Nice Post.
posted by bdave at 11:40 PM on April 30, 2005

This post from last year was better.

I agree. It said what it was about, clearly and briefly:

The story of 'Wimoweh' 'Mbube' or more popularly 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight'. In which a Zulu migrant creates one of the most recorded songs of the twentieth century, but because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, failed to get any royalties and died a pauper. A contribution to the music copyright debate.

But somehow the idea has gotten accepted that it's better to be cutesy and allusive than direct and informative. Also, since so many people have joined in the last year, double posts don't seem to matter anymore.
*mutter, grumble*
No offense, peacay, it's a great story and definitely MeFi-worthy, but if you'd searched on "wimoweh" you'd have found the original post in two shakes of a lamb's tail.
posted by languagehat at 5:51 AM on May 1, 2005

Thanks for the Kind words and props jonmc!,nice to be seen here
posted by RecordBrother at 10:44 AM on May 1, 2005

That 'obscure DJ' from your second link, Dick "The Derby" Smith, is my father-in-law!

And Jay Siegel of the Tokens is my grandfather's first cousin. Small world, ain't it? :-)
posted by Asparagirl at 11:30 PM on May 1, 2005

Good stories. 6-degrees..
Sorry for not citing previous post - 1 year default on search might have caught me.
But it's not a double per se. The PBS site is centre-feature of this post. The other links were additive is all.
posted by peacay at 10:08 AM on May 6, 2005

« Older Lee and Dan's Excellent Adverts   |   Tragic Tale of the Christian Cucumber Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments