Mitch Margo was just 14 when he and some Brooklyn pals recorded “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” a doo-wop version of a Zulu folk song that had been recorded dozens of times over the decades.
But for the New York boy group, the song proved to be a powerful elixir as it climbed the charts and settled in at No. 1 for three weeks, and then remained in rotation on oldies radio stations for years to come.
It also set the bar impossibly high for four kids not yet out of high school.
Margo, who teamed with his brother Phil and two others to make up the Tokens, chased music the rest of his life, helping produce hits for others, musical scores for television projects and artwork for...