1961 The Tokens – Tonight I Fell In Love
The Linc-Tones were a quartet that formed in 1955. The group consisted of Neil Sedaka, Hank Medress, Eddie Rabkin, and Cynthia Zolotin. The next year, Eddie was replaced by Jay Siegel and the group recorded and released their first album on Guest Star Records. Neil wrote While I Dream and sang lead on the song, which was credited to Neil Sedaka and the Tokens. The single didn’t chart nationally.
In 1957, Cynthia left the group and Neil left to pursue a very, very successful solo career. Jay took over lead vocals. Hank and Jay released Picture in My Wallet using the group name Darrell & the Oxfords. They recruited brothers Phil and Mitch Margo in 1960 and went back to using The Tokens as their name.
The group wrote and recorded Tonight I Fell In Love for Warwick Records. The single peaked at #15 on the Hot 100 in 1961 and sold over a million copies.
The sales, airplay, and publicity from performing on American Bandstand helped the group record The Lion Sleeps Tonight for RCA Records in 1962. That single topped the Hot 100 and, thanks in part to Disney, the song continues to be familiar to almost everybody.
The group formed their own record company (B.T. Puppy Records) in 1963 and began producing records for other artists. Some of their notable singles include He’s So Fine by the Chiffons, Denise by Randy & the Rainbows, See You In September and other singles by the Happenings, and Candida, Knock Three Times, and Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree by Tony Orlando and Dawn.
The Tokens released a string of singles throughout the sixties, but only two others even reached the top forty on the Hot 100, I Hear Trumpets Blow in 1966 and Portrait Of My Love in 1967.
The group eventually split in two, and there have been two sets of Tokens performing live for decades, Jay Siegel’s Tokens and The Margo Brothers’ Tokens.