The TokensDoo-Wop | 2008
The Tokens—best known for their chart-topping 1961 single, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”—were formed in 1955 at Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln High School and were known first as The Linc-Tones. The group’s original members were Neil Sedaka, Hank Medress, Eddie Rabkin, and Cynthia Zolotin; Rabkin was replaced by Jay Siegel in 1956. The band recorded its first single, “While I Dream,” that same year. In 1957, Sedaka and Zolotin left the band, leaving only Siegel and Medress, who would recruit two additional band members and record the single “Picture in My Wallet” as Darrell & the Oxfords. The band became known as The Tokens in 1960 after they recruited the 13-year-old multi-instrumentalist and first tenor Mitch Margo and his baritone brother Phil Margo. The Tokens would go on to have the second-longest chart span in the history of rock and roll. More than 30 years after the debut of their first big hit, “Tonight I Fell In Love,” they re-emerged on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart in August 1994 with a rerelease of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” recorded for the new Disney film The Lion King. The Tokens were one of the first and youngest groups to independently produce recordings for a major label and also sang backup vocals for artists such as Del Shannon, Melissa Manchester, and Bob Dylan. The Tokens were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004.