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 Post subject: Remember singer Hank Medress of the Tokens?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 5:23 pm 
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...and that fabulous old song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" ? On June 19, the singer of that song, Hank Medress, passed away in New York:

Hank Medress, 68, Doo-Wop Singer on ‘Lion Sleeps Tonight’, Dies

Hank Medress, a founding member of the 1960s doo-wop group the Tokens, whose biggest hit was “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” died on Monday at his home in Manhattan. He was 68.

The cause was lung cancer, his family said.

The Tokens’ sole Top 10 hit was a big one, an update in street-corner harmony of a Zulu song from South Africa. The song had become a folk staple in the 1950s after a recording by the Weavers — with Solomon Linda’s original lyric, “mbube” (lion), misheard as “wimoweh” — but entered pop eternity in the Tokens’ chirruping 1961 version, which stayed at No. 1 for three weeks.

Mr. Medress formed the group in 1955 with friends at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, among them a young Neil Sedaka; its original name was the Linc-Tones. By 1960 Mr. Sedaka had a solo career, and the quartet was repopulated with Jay Siegel, who sang most of the leads, and the brothers Mitch and Phil Margo.

The group reached No. 15 in early 1961 with “Tonight I Fell in Love,” but besides “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” it had no other significant hits for years, reaching No. 30 in 1966 with “I Hear Trumpets Blow” and No. 36 the next year with “Portrait of My Love.”

But “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” was enough to propel Mr. Medress’s career. The Tokens were given an unusual production deal by Capitol Records, and one record the group produced — that Capitol passed on — was the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine,” a No. 1 hit for four weeks in 1963 on the Laurie label.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:46 pm 
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I remember that song when it came out. Strange what we were inspired to buy in music. From an African songso no wonder it moved something in our white western minds. The longing thing we carry. Not to get eaten by lions mind you. :shock:

I recently saw a doo bop review with the Four Lads, the Diamonds and the Four Aces. The Lads weren't exactly teens anymore but they could still swing it, the Diamonds only had one original member, but were the show stoppers with songs like Unchained melody and Only You. We couldn't stay for the Aces as we had to get home to our country spot, and our bad backs were acting up. We heard from a friend the Aces weren't as good as the Diamonds.

I was too young to really appreciate Doo Bop but enjoyed Frank Zappa's admirable parodies and Ruben and the Jets album from the late 60"s. He loved doo bop.

Ah nostalgia- so hard to forget. :roll:

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 6:51 am 
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Now with the satellite radio stations such as Serius, that nostalgia will probably last forever because the songs from as far back as the 40s and 50s are being heard by people who wouldn't otherwise know about them. The 60s produced some marvelous music, as did the 70s and the 80s.

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