From The Desk Of The Feelies’ Dave Weckerman: “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” And “Telstar”

Percussionist Dave Weckerman has been part of the Feelies story since 1976 when he, Glenn Mercer and Bill Million formed the Outkids, which quickly evolved into the Feelies. Following the release of seminal 1980 debut Crazy Rhythms, the group went on a sort of short-lived hiatus, though the band members played together in a number of offshoots, including the Trypes, the Willies and Yung Wu. 1987’s Shore Leave was the sole album by Yung Wu, which featured Weckerman as singer/songwriter backed by Mercer, Million and fellow Feelies Brenda Sauter and Stan Demeski. The long-out-of-print Shore Leave has just been reissued by Bar/None, so we asked Weckerman to guest edit He said yes and will be writing about “some favorite things and cultural touchstones in my life (so far)” all week.

Weckerman: These two other-worldy hit records—“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and “Telstar”—made me start listening to transistor-radio pop-music stations. I was lured into a world of early Beach Boys, “Micky’s Monkey,” “He’s A Rebel,” et al, and left music of social reality behind.