'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' singer dies
NEW YORK - Hank Medress, whose vocals with the doo wop group the Tokens helped propel their irrepressible single "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" to the top of the charts and who produced hits with other groups, has died of lung cancer. He was 68.
Medress died Monday at his Manhattan home, relatives said.
He was a teenager at Brooklyn's Lincoln High School when he launched his vocal quartet in 1955 with Neil Sedaka, performing as the Linc-Tones. When Sedaka departed for a successful solo career, lead singer Jay Siegel joined brothers Mitch and Phil Margo and Medress to become the Tokens.
It wasn't until 1961 that the group scored its singular smash, its hypnotic "Wimowehs" derived from a traditional Zulu melody. The Weavers had made the song a folk staple in the '50s, but the Tokens brought their version to No. 1 on the pop charts.