Wimoweh – 1952

The Weavers were an American folk quartet from Greenwich Village in New York City who sang traditional folk songs from around the world, as well as blues, gospel music, children’s songs, labor songs, and American ballads. Their style inspired the commercial folk music boom that followed them in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Weavers were formed in 1948 by Ronnie GilbertLee HaysFred Hellerman, and Pete Seeger. The group took its name from Die Weber a play written by Gerhart Hauptmann in 1892 that depicted the uprising of the Silesian weavers in 1844.

The Weavers first big hit was in 1950 with Lead Belly‘s “Goodnight, Irene“, backed with the 1941 song “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena“, which also became a best-seller.

During the Great Red Scare of the early 1950s, their manager advised the group not to sing their most explicitly political songs and to avoid performing at “progressive” venues and events. Because of this, some folk song fans criticized them for watering down their beliefs and commercializing their singing style.

Encouraging sing-alongs in their concerts, sometimes Seeger would shout out the lyrics in advance of each line.

The Weavers introduced many folk revival standards to new audiences. Their hits included:

On Top of Old Smoky

Follow the Drinking Gourd

Kisses Sweeter than Wine,

Sloop John B

Rock Island Line

The Midnight Special

Pay Me My Money Down

Darling Cory

and their 1952 hit “Wimoweh.”

Major Source: Wikipedia