Monday, January 10, 2011
"The Lion Sleeps Tonight", also known as "Wimoweh" and originally as "Mbube" (lion in Zulu) was a song recorded by Solomon Linda and his group, The Evening Birds, for a South African record company in 1939. It was covered internationally by many well known 1950s pop and folk revival artists, including Jimmy Dorsey, Yma Sumac, The Weavers, Miriam Makeba and the Kingston Trio. In 1961, it became a number one hit in the US as adapted by the doo wop group, The Tokens. It went on to earn at least $15 million in royalties from covers and film licensing. Then, in the mid-nineties, it was licensed to Walt Disney and used in the film "The Lion King", its spin off television series, and live musical, prompting a lawsuit on behalf of the impoverished descendants of Solomon Linda.