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August 25, 2010

The Lion Sleeps Tonight writer dies

New York Times

George David Weiss, a songwriter who had a hand in some of the biggest hits of midcentury pop music, recorded by some of the biggest stars, died on Monday at his home in Oldwick, N.J. He was 89. The death was of natural causes, his wife, Claire, said.

Among his most famous numbers were “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” recorded by Elvis Presley; “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” recorded by the Tokens; and “What a Wonderful World,” recorded by Louis Armstrong.

“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (1961), based on a South African Zulu song first recorded in the 1930s, was given a reworked melody and new lyrics (“In the jungle, the mighty jungle/The lion sleeps tonight”) by Mr. Weiss, Mr. Peretti and Mr. Creatore.

Their adaptation, which kept the refrain — “Wimoweh, wimoweh” — popularized in a 1950s version by the Weavers, became a million-selling hit for the Tokens. Widely recorded since, the song has been used in many motion pictures, including “The Lion King” (1994). Read more.

Posted by acapnews at August 25, 2010 12:00 AM

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