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Wimoweh - The Best of the Tokens

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Album Review

The Tokens' unlikely blend of doo wop and what was, in folk circles, termed "ethnic music," resulted in one enormous and enduring hit: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)." After that, it was all downhill for the group during their RCA tenure — the biggest of their followup hits reached a modest number 55 on the charts. Wimoweh: The Best of the Tokens rounds up all six of their chart entries, some of which — like "B'Wanina (Pretty Girl)" and "La Bamba" — repeated the "Wimoweh" formula. When those failed, the Tokens returned to straightforward doo wop material ("Tonight I Met an Angel"), covers of other vocal groups' hits ("Sincerely," "A Thousand Miles Away"), and, finally, Beach Boys-style car songs ("My Friend's Car"). The anthology also compiles a number of choice cuts and oddities that fall in-between, from the gorgeous "Somewhere There's a Girl" to the weirdly insulting love song "You're Nothing But a Girl." There's a "Little Darlin'" retread titled "Dry Your Eyes" and several songs with "night" or "tonight" in the title in apparent reference to the group's first two hits. Wimoweh: The Best of the Tokens also includes three previously unreleased songs for collectors. For those who couldn't get enough of the Tokens, several additional recordings from their RCA period were made available the same year on a budget collection, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Rovi


Formed: 1960 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '90s, '00s

This Brooklyn doo wop group was originally known as the Linc-Tones when it formed in 1955 at Lincoln High School. Hank Medress, Neil Sedaka, Eddie Rabkin, and Cynthia Zolitin didn't have much impact in their early days recording for Melba. They later disbanded, but Medress re-formed the group in 1960 as the Tokens. Brothers Phil and Mitch Margo and Jay Siegel were now the members. They recorded for Warwick in 1960, then had their one glorious hit in 1962, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." It was based on...
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Wimoweh - The Best of the Tokens, The Tokens
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