"The Lion Sleeps Tonight", also known as "Wimoweh" and originally as "Mbube" is a song recorded by Solomon Linda and his group The Evening Birds for the South African Gallo Record Company in 1939. It was covered internationally by many 1950s pop and folk revival artists, including The Weavers, Jimmy Dorsey, Yma Sumac, Miriam Makeba, and The Kingston Trio. In 1961, it became a number one hit in the U.S. as adapted by the doo-wop group The Tokens. It went on to earn at least 15 million US dollars in royalties from covers and film licensing. Then, in the mid-nineties, it became a pop "supernova" (in the words of South African writer Rian Malan) when licensed to Walt Disney for use in the film The Lion King, its spin-off TV series and live musical, prompting a lawsuit on behalf of the impoverished descendants of Solomon Linda.
"Mbube" (Zulu: lion) was written in the 1920s by Solomon Linda, South African singer of Zulu origin, who worked for the Gallo Record Company as a cleaner and record packer, and who performed with a choir, The Evening Birds. According to South African journalist Rian Malan:
"Mbube" wasn't the most remarkable tune, but there was something terribly compelling about...