The Lion Sleeps Tonight Tight Fit
Song Title: The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Artist: Tight Fit
Date of release: January 1982
Description: ” The Lion Sleeps Tonight ” is by Tight Fit, the 1980’s British pop group made up of Steve Grant, Denise Gyngell and Julie Harris. The song was written by Solomon Linda, Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore, George David Weiss and Albert Stanton.
The producer for this version of the song was Tim Friese-Greene. The English musician and producer worked with the group Talk Talk from 1983 until they disbanded in the early 1990’s.
The song was released in January 1982 by record label Jive and taken from the group’s second Album ( but first under this line up ) of the same name.
” The Lion Sleeps Tonight ” first found life in 1939 called ” Mbube ” which translates as ” The Lion “. The song was based on a Zulu folk song ” Wimoweh and first recorded by Soloman Linda ( Soloman Ntsele ) and the Evening Birds.
He’d written the song in the 1920’s while working as a cleaner and record packer for the Gallo Record Company in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Gallo Record Company’s in-house talent scout, Griffith Motsieloa, discovered and signed them. The group recorded many songs in the studio which included ” Mbube ” which became a big success in South Africa with sales in excess of 100,000 in 1949.
Soloman Linda then sold the rights for 10 Shillings to the record company after he had made the recording. By selling the rights he had forfeited any right to future royalty payments.
The song has been covered a number of times. In the 1960’s the American folk group The Weavers had a number 6 US chart hit with their version of this song called “Wimoweh”. The lyrics had been changed slightly by David Weiss, the song was copyrighted as a new composition.
” The Lion Sleeps Tonight ” which was another new version of Soloman Linda’s original ” Mbube ” made Number One in the US and 11 in the UK for the Tokens in 1961.
In 1982 Tight Fit released their version. The group formed in 1981 by Ken Gold, the record producer put together session singers to release a medley of 60’s hits called ” Back to the 60s ” to cash in on a trend set by the Stars on 45 singles by Starsound.
Later that year record producer Tim Friese-Greene made a recording of ” The Lion Sleeps Tonight ” with a different group of session singers. The song was released in 1982 using the name Tight Fit. The song started to get attention so a new group was put together to perform under the name.
The new lineup consisted of male model, dancer and singer Steve Grant. Welsh singer, actress and model Denise Gyngell ( Failed an audition for chart toppers Bucks Fizz ) and Julie Harris who was part of Zoo, a dance troupe that appeared on British tv music show Top of the Pops.
The three were put together just to front Tight Fit, they didn’t actually sing the vocals for ” The Lion Sleeps Tonight “. The vocals for the single were provided by Roy Ward from the 1970’s rock band City Boy.
The original writer and performer Soloman Linda died in 1962, although he sold the rights a provision in British copyright law from 1911 stated that all rights revert to the composer’s estate 25 years after his death.
In 2004 Disney was sued for $1.6 million in royalties for the use of the song in both film and stage productions of Lion King. Payments of $3,000 a year were made by Richmond Organization to his estate. Linda’s descendants reached a settlement in February 2006 with Abilene Music Publishers, who held the Worldwide rights and had licensed ” The Lion Sleeps Tonight ” to Disney, to place all royalties into a trust set up to administer the song’s earnings.
The song was a success for the new lineup of Tight Fit. It entered the UN chart on the 23rd of January 1982 and reached Number One on the 6th of March. The song held the top slot for 3 weeks, it spent 8 weeks in the top ten and a total of 15 weeks on the UK chart.
BillBoard Highest Chart Position: N/A
UK Highest Chart Position: 1
Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Ö3 Austria ( Top 40 ) 8, Belgian Ultratop 1, German Media Control Charts 3, Danish Singles Charts 1, Dutch Singles Charts 1, Irish Singles Charts 1, New Zealand Singles Charts 3, Swedish Sverigetopplistan Charts 17, Swiss Ultratop Charts 8
Official Website: Tightfitofficial.com
FaceBook Page: N/A
Wikipedia Page: Wikipedia.org/TightFit