"Wimoweh": a mishearing of the original song's chorus of 'uyimbube' (meaning "you're a lion") 

"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" began as a 1939 African popular music hit "Mbube" (Zulu for "lion"), which was first recorded by its writer, Solomon Linda, and his group, The Evening Birds, in 1939. Gallo Record Company paid Linda a single fee of 10 shillings (about 87 cents today) for the recording and no royalties. "Mbube" became a hit throughout South Africa and sold about one hundred thousand copies during the 1940s.

American musicologist Alan Lomax brought the song to the attention of folk group The Weavers' Pete Seeger. In 1952, they recorded their version entitled "Wimoweh", a mishearing of the original song's chorus of 'uyimbube' (meaning "you're a lion"). Their 1952 version became a top-twenty hit in the U.S., and their live 1957 recording turned it into a folk music staple.


New lyrics to the song were written and The Tokens' 1961 cover of this version rose to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and still receives fairly frequent replay on many American oldies radio stations. In 1972 Robert John did a cover of this version. Since then, "Wimoweh"/"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" has remained popular and frequently covered - also in the 1994 Walt Disney hit movie "The Lion King." 

In early 2006 'The Dancing Hippo And Dancing Dog' returned singing this as comedians.

Born in 1909 in the Zulu heartland of Africa, Mr. Linda never learned to read or write, but he knew music and had the ability of writing lyrics.  He died in 1962 at the age of 53, with $22 in the bank.

Lyrics: 

A-weema-weh A-weema-weh A-weema-weh A-weema-weh
A-weema-weh A-weema-weh A-weema-weh A-weema-weh
A-weema-weh A-weema-weh A-weema-weh A weema-weh
A-weema-weh A-weema weh A-weema-weh A-weema-weh

In the jungle, the mighty jungle
The lion sleeps tonight
In the jungle, the quiet jungle
The lion sleeps tonight.
A-weema-weh A-weema-weh A-weema-weh A-weema-weh
A-weema-weh A-weema-weh A-weema-weh A-weema-weh
A-weema-weh A-weema-weh A-weema-weh A weema-weh
A-weema-weh A-weema weh A-weema-weh A-weema-weh