THE TOKENS–“TONIGHT I FELL IN LOVE” & “THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT”

Hello,  The Tokens were formed in 1955 in Brooklyn, New York and were first known as the Linc-Tones.  Members included Neil Sedaka, Hank Medress, Eddie Rabkin and Cynthia Zolotin.  Rankin was replaced by Jay Siegel in 1956.  The group also recorded their first single record in 1956,  WHILE I DREAM, on Melba Records, the single did not chart.  Sedaka and Zolotin left the group in 1957 leaving only Jay Siegel and Hank Medress.  They added two new members and recorded the single record,  PICTURE IN MY WALLET,  under the name, Darrell & The Oxfords.  They would change their name to The Tokens in 1960 after they signed Mitch Margo (13 years old at the time), his brother Phil Margo and guitarist Joe Venneri.

In March of 1961 The Tokens charted a single they recorded on the Warwick Records label.  The record,  TONIGHT I FELL IN LOVE  became a Pop and a Doo-Wop hit.  The single charted at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained on the chart for 14 weeks.  They performed on TV shows including American Bandstand.  TONIGHT I FELL IN LOVE, sold over a million copies and was awarded a “Gold Record”.

In November of 1961 The Tokens charted a record that would be forever theirs…THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT  on RCA Victor Records wasted no time climbing the Hot 100 and didn’t stop until it had reached #1 in America.  The single stayed at #1 for 3 weeks, remained on the Hot 100 for 15 weeks and sold over 1 million copies, earning The Tokens a second “Gold Record” award.  They did very well in the UK, charting at #11 on the UK Singles Chart.

The Tokens would continue to record and chart records during the 1960s.  They would chart 7 more Billboard Hot 100 hits between 1962 and 1969.  In 1963 they became record producers for artists including The Chiffons, Randy & The Rainbows and The Happenings.  They also had their own record company,  B.T. Puppy Records.  In 1973 Medress left the group.  Jay Siegel teamed with the Margo Brothers to form the group Cross Country.  They reunited  during 1975 and again in 1978.  The Margo brothers perform with their version of The Tokens.  Jay Siegel continues to perform with his version of the group.  Hank Medress passed away in 2007 at the age of 68.

Two, huge hits and 10 other Billboard Hot 100 hits have given The Tokens their spot among the other great groups of the 50s and 60s.  They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004.  Their classic hits live in the “GOLDEN ERA OF ROCK AND ROLL” and are played on oldies radio stations everywhere.

CLICK ON A TITLE BELOW TO HEAR…THE TOKENS SING ONE OF THEIR MILLION-SELLERS

Tonight I Fell In Love – 1961

The Lion Sleeps Tonight – 1961 #1 Pop Hit Record

Till the next time—Joe

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