- Born in Brooklyn, New York, Robert was only 12 years old when he first made it onto the US singles chart. That was back in 1958 and the song was called White Bucks and Saddle Shoes. Five years later he was heading a band named, Bobby & The Consoles who had a hit with My Jelly Bean.
- Back then he was going under his real name, Bobby Pedrick. By 1965 he’d changed his name to Robert John and signed with MGM. His two MGM singles bombed.
- In 1967, he signed with Columbia and recorded a number of singles before signing with A&M and releasing The Lion Sleeps Tonight.
- By the 1980s he’d had a number of singles but only one made it onto the charts; Sad Eyes, released in 1979.
- Robert’s last record release was a Greatest Hits album released in 1992.
- The Lion Sleeps Tonight was originally simply called, Mbube.
- It was written and recorded in 1939 by a South African national named Solomon Linda and was originally in Zulu only.
- Solomon Linda recorded it with South African band, The Evening Birds.
- By the 1950s it was internationally known having been covered by a number of folk artists. In 1961 it was a #1 US hit for The Tokens.
- Solomon Linda made very little from the song and his descendants live in poverty, hence the laswsuit. When Walt Disney used the song in the movie The Lion King, it earned mega-royalties, none of which went to Solomon Linda’s family.
- In 1972, American Robert John recorded The Lion Sleeps Tonight. It peaked at #3 on the US charts.
- The song has also been covered by: The New Christy Minstrels, Pete Seeger, Chet Atkins, Desmond Dekker, The Tremeloes (on their album Silence is Golden), Brian Eno, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, R.E.M., ‘N Sync, The Muppets, Baha Men, and The Mavericks.
- One theory is that the song is actually about a Zulu chief – it appears chiefs in Zulu tribes are often called lions. Another theory states that the song refers to an incident in Solomon Linda’s own youth when he actually killed a lion cub…
- The Lion Sleeps Tonight lyrics.
the lion sleeps tonight – robert john – 1972 – video
sad eyes – robert john – 1979
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