"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was a 1939 African pop hit that, unexpectedly, also became quite popular in the US.
In 1952, the song was covered as an instrumental by American folk group The Weavers as "Wimoweh", a mishearing of the chorus of 'uyimbube' (meaning "he is a lion"), and again in 1959 by The Kingston Trio. For The Tokens' 1961 cover, a new set of lyrics, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", was written by George Weiss, Luigi Creatore, and Hugo Peretti, based upon the meaning of the original song. The Tokens' version rose to number one on the Billboard charts and still receives fairly frequent replay on many American oldies radio stations. Since then, "Wimoweh"/"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" has remained popular and frequently covered in the US.
In July 2004 the song became the subject of a lawsuit between the family of its writer Solomon Linda and Disney. The suit claims that Disney owes $1.6 million in royalties for its use in the film The Lion King.