It took a very long time, but the family of a composer you never heard of, but whose song many can’t get out of their heads, is finally paid royalties by those who made millions off his work
JOHANNESBURG — As Solomon Linda first recorded it in 1939, it was a tender melody, almost childish in its simplicity — three chords, a couple of words and some baritones chanting in the background.
But the saga of the song now known worldwide as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is anything but a lullaby. It is fraught with racism and exploitation and, in the end, 40-plus years after his death, brings a measure of justice. Were he still alive, Solomon Linda might turn it into one heck of a ballad. By SHARON LaFRANIERE, Published: March 22, 2006