Music on Mondays (3-30-15)—Hear me roar (or see me sleep)

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

There are many babies at the San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park right now, including a baby hippo born a week ago, a baby lowland gorilla, and a baby jaguar.

This is not a baby:

African lion at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That is a big cat, an African Lion, the King of the Jungle. Doesn’t look all that ferocious to me. In fact, he looks suspiciously like another cat I know:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I have never seen the African Lions at the Zoo looking ferocious, only Zoey the Cool Cat:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Every time I see lions sleeping, I think of Robert John and his 1972 hit, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Robert John peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s the version I grew up with; I was a junior in high school.

The song itself, though, is actually quite a bit older, having originally been recorded in 1939 as “Mbube” by the South African Zulu group Solomon Linda & The Evening Birds. Mbube is Zulu for lion.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Whenever I think of Zulu and Africa, I think first of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, best known for singing with Paul Simon on his #1 album “Graceland” from 1986. Sure enough, Ladysmith Black Mambazo did a version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

(YouTube and Wikipedia by far are my favorite Internet sites but they do cause me not to visit libraries as often as I should…….)

The Weavers had a #14 hit in 1952.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I found The Weavers themselves to be rather interesting because one of their members was the incomparable Pete Seeger (1919-2014). Seeger was a prolific songwriter, having written “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?”, recorded by dozens of groups throughout music history and listed by New Statesman as one of the Top 20 political songs of all time. I am most familiar with the version by Peter, Paul & Mary:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Seeger also wrote “If I Had A Hammer,” a #10 hit for Peter, Paul & Mary in late 1962, as well as a #3 hit for Trini Lopez in the summer of 1963.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds also was written by Seeger and was a #1 hit for them in late 1965. The Byrds were one of three groups performing at the first rock concert I ever went to, that concert being at The Yellow Rose of Texas dance hall in Corpus Christi in 1972. (Chicago & Dr. John were the other two groups.)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

With that little side journey out of the way, let’s get back to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

The Tokens’ version arguably is the best known, having spent three weeks at #1 in 1961.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I say arguably because younger readers probably know best the version by Timon and Pumbaa used in the Disney movie “The Lion King.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I feel like I just played a musical version of Six Degrees of Separation.

And with that, I return you to your regularly scheduled Monday programming.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift? Anniversary? Birthday? Graduation? Marriage? Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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30 thoughts on “Music on Mondays (3-30-15)—Hear me roar (or see me sleep)

  1. chrllrobb.blog

    I absolutely loved this post. I loved hearing all of the versions of The Lion Sleeps Tonight. I did not know that there was a really old version of the song. I liked the version Mbube. It was different and I could hear the same tune in it even though I couldn’t understand the words. And of course it wanted me to see the movie The Lion King again. 🙂 I really like the version by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Even better than the one I am more familiar with by Robert John.
    And I loved all the other songs that I haven’t heard for a very long time. THank you for posting.
    Loved all the fierce kitty pictures. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. chrllrobb.blog

    Reblogged this on chrllrobb and commented:
    If you love songs from the fifties and sixties, and different versions of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, then you will like this post. I did. I had to sing along a few times. Causing my son to shut his bedroom door. 😀 Enjoy!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  3. dogleadermysteries

    Sweet and sassy music post sharing a few of the best oldies and talking about the songwriter too. Thanks for doing this on Mondays, I’ve thought of sharing golden songs too, but with Dog Leader Mysteries as my brand, what type of music could I share? Wolves and howling hounds?

    I agree that Ladysmith Black Mambazo performed some the the best vocal music heard. Lyrics compare to poetry and yesterday I wrote about two writers blogs, plus my own fresh falling into heaven Monday Poets.

    Liked by 1 person

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      1. dogleadermysteries

        Actually, I believe you have hit a top note of truth, readers often want more than just what we write. They become curious about the writer, artist, photographer, etc. They often want to know why we make the choice to invest ourselves in our art and in things they find entertaining or inspirational in our art.

        Liked by 1 person

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          1. dogleadermysteries

            Thanks. Good to know that you had a wise grandparent. My grandmother Alice made a huge impression on me, she lived by managing and expecting the best of herself. Of course, she reminded me to sit up straight and pay attention to detail. A person I’ve known for years said, “We’ll be glad to have you and your diginty in our group again.”

            My mouth wanted to fall open. I would not refer to myself that way, but it fits with others who have called me “Queenly” yet I feel mostly like my 14 year-old cowgirl self, with a wide ranging curiousity.

            Liked by 1 person

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