This page lists the chart runs for songs called "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in order of success. This list combines cover versions and distinct songs that happen to share the same title.
The original version from 1939, was called "Mbube" and was by Solomon Linda & The Evening Birds, (Mbube is Zulu for lion). The Weavers called it "Wimoweh" because they misheard the original chorus of "Uyimbube" (Zulu for 'You are a lion'). Other groups have called it "The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)" or "Wimoweh (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)". Given this confusing set of alternate names we've selected the name used by The Tokens who had the biggest hit with it.
The song was written by Solomon Linda however by the time it was recorded by The Weavers they assumed it was traditional, so the record company TRO claimed the copyright for a fictitious person, "Paul Campbell". They justified this by claiming that South African copyrights were not valid because South Africa was not a signatory to US copyright law. TRO earned at least $15M just from its use in the film "The Lion King" alone, none of that money went to Solomon Linda. The film "A Lion's Trail" (2002) documents the story.
Previous Comments (newest first)
3 Jul 2018
who is that woman that sings that extreamely high notes in the lion sleepstonight
13 Jul 2014
Do you mean "Solomon Linda & The Evening Birds" who sang "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (which was copied by The Weavers and called "Wimoweh" because they misheard the lyrics)
Because that was 1939 not 1950
17 Jul 2011
No sleeping lion
I'm pretty sure that the title of your #80 Weavers song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was actually "Wimoweh".
You are right, the Weavers did call their version "Wimoweh" but the original name (the 1939 South African version by the Evening Birds) was "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". The Wikipedia page has an image of the most successful version by The Tokens which also uses this same name.
As we have mentioned elsewhere where alternate song titles or artist names are used (for example in different countries) we try and remain consistent rather than always reflecting the exact names used. There are plenty of places to find the exact title the Weavers used, we're more interested in comparing their worldwide success with that of The Tokens, Tight Fit and Robert John (and we think we're the best place to do that).
We'll add a note on to the song's page.
Thanks for the input