Everyone knows who The Tokens are even if you don't recognize the name. They were a white (a little unusual although not unique) doo-wop band which was first formed in 1955 as The Linc-Tones presumably because all the members attended Lincoln High School in Brooklyn. While this band had little success it was Brill Building stalwart writer, Neil Sedaka's first band. While Sedaka left to seek his fortunes at Brill with the likes of Carol King & Gerry Goffin, Ellie Greenwich, Neil Diamond and Cynthia Weil, co-founder Hank Medress reformed the band as The Tokens in 1960. Medress brought in new band members Brothers Phil and Mitch Margo and Jay Siegal and in 1962 they hit pay-dirt with their one mega-hit, The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh) based on the South African Zulu song "Wimoweh" which is still a staple on ever oldies station in the world.
I’ve come to despise the entire concept of “cool.” I think too many people waste their lives (well, let’s face it: their youths) in a quest to discover what is, espouse, follow, or be “cool.” But cool is very much a concept with a best-before date, and it expires quickly.
This episode’s top tune is almost too easy to choose, though the candidate-songs are as strong as ever. There’s “It Takes Two” by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock and “Dice” by Finley Quaye & William Orbit, both excellent tunes. There’s also “The Weight of the World” by Editors, a band still going strong and one we want to look at further on this site. “The Weight of the World” could easily be the top tune and it is tough to pass it by.
I wanted to call this piece “The Bristol Sound,” but one of the three groups I’ll be talking about had the bad manners to come from Hartlepool, way way north of Bristol. But it’s undeniable that the genre that became known as trip-hop originated in Bristol, and we can with some confidence pinpoint the group responsible for the genesis of that genre: Massive Attack.