The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”


You may recognize the song you just heard as The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens. You may also recognize it from Disney’s The Lion King. Although this is probably the most popular version, this is not the original version of this well known song.

Soloman Linda, part of the Hulu Tribe, was the original creator of the song, which was named “Mbube”, which translates from Zulu to “the lion”. This song has been remade by so many people in its time, having over 66 different remakes.

However, when Soloman died in 1962 from renal failure, he did not receive any of the royalties from his famous song. After his death, due to the families financial state, it took 18 years to have a tombstone put on his grave.

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