Hank Medress – The Unsung Hero behind, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, “He’s So Fine”, And “Tie A Yellow Ribbon”!

October 31, 2006

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l to r Hank Medress, Mitch Margo, Phil Margo, and Jay Siegal
The Tokens are inducted into the Vocal Group Hall Of Fame 2005

Hank Medress, the founder of the Tokens (“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”) and producer of the Chiffons (“He’s So Fine”), Dawn ( “Candida”, “Knock Three Times”) , Tony Orlando and Dawn ( “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ( On The Old Oak Tree “) talks about his career, challenges and aspirations.

In an exclusive interview that amounts to a couple of old friends talking, Hank shares stories and experiences that make you feel like you’re there in the moment with him! He also talks about the organzation that he represents, and the gratification he receives from finding recording artists who don’t even know they are owed money.

Artie Wayne On The Web and Spectropop proudly present The Hank Medress interview http://spectropop.com/HankMedress/index.htm

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68 Responses to “Hank Medress – The Unsung Hero behind, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, “He’s So Fine”, And “Tie A Yellow Ribbon”!”

  1. Gary Myers Says:

    Hank, I’ve enjoyed much of the Tokens work … Tonight I Fell In Love, When I Go To Sleep At Night, Lion Sleeps, He’s In Town, I Hear Trumpets, Portrait Of My Love, Young Girl/Go Away Little Girl medley, etc.

    I sat in on a gig with Mitch Margo in ’89 and saw Phil & Mitch’s group out here (SoCal) around ’86 or so.

    gem

  2. David Rosner Says:

    I loved reading the interview and am incredibly dragged learning about Hank’s health, wishing him great success in conquering this. His door indeed was always open to folks with songs, and I really appreciated that. I first met Hank at Columbia when he brought “He’s So Fine” to my boss, Tom Catalano. Tom was `merchandising manager of single records’; I was `product manager of single records’, both within the sales department. We thought the record was the monster it became and were incredulous when it was turned down by A&R. In partial defense of Dave Kapralik, I think he had a real uphill climb selling contemporary music to a company still clinging to the Mitch Miller musical mentality. As concerns Hank’s thoughts about no sense of urgency within the business toward records, I think this relates to the business having successfully killed the single, hence far fewer chances being taken. The bigger the business, the duller it became. Hang in there, Hank! —David

  3. Brian Ibbott Says:

    Wow – what a wonderful interview, and under such tragic circumstances. I’ve always loved “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, especially getting to “hear it through new ears” when introducing it to my son. Hank, I wish you the best in beating cancer, and I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to fill us all in on those great background stories to some of our favorite music!

  4. Ed Salamon Says:

    Thanks for sharing your stories, Hank. They are important because the Tokens accomplished even more behind the scenes than you did as artists and there was not much music press to document it at the time. You are in my prayers.
    Thanks, Artie for getting this done.
    BTW I saw Jay Siegal’s Tokens last month here in Nashville and he’s doing a great job of keeping the Tokens’legacy alive with a very entertaining act. I reminded Jay of the Tokens’ arrangement of “La Bomba” (sic) adapted from the original folk song when your group was exploring the folk genre. Haven’t seen the Margo brothers since we flew back to LA together after they played the Pittsburgh Thanksgiving parade in the mid 90s, but at that time they likewise had a great group. The Tokens have a great multifaceted musical legacy, I’m glad to see it preserved.

  5. Joe Nelson Says:

    What can I say? To have a career running the gamut from “He’s So Fine” to “King of Fu” says more than I ever could about Hank’s talent. I still remember the moment I pulled a copy of “I Hear Trumpets Blow” out of a huge bag of newly acquired assorted 45’s, put it on the turntable and pondered as to why it hadn’t been #1 in its time. Thanks, Hank, for the memories – and thanks to Artie for preserving them. God bless you both.

  6. JERRY ROSS Says:

    MANY THANKS HANK…
    I ALWAYS ENJOY A WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH YOUR SENSE OF YOUR STREET WISE MUSIC THAT WAS HAPPENING IN THAT VERY EXCITING ERA OF WRITE IT FRIDAY…RECORD IT ON SATURDAY…AND HEAR IT WMCA RADIO ON MONDAY WITH THE GOOD GUYS !!!!!
    NOW, WITH CORPORATE RADIO PROGRAMMERS /NON RESPONSIVE
    INDUSTRY PEOPLE AT THE RECORD LABEL LEVEL, NO WONDER THE MUSIC BUSINESS HAS LOST ITS’ HEART AND SOUL TO BE REPLACED WITH RAP AND HIP HOP AND NO COPYRIGHTS BEING GENERATED…!!!! OUCH…IT IS SAD!!!

    BY THE WAY HANK, THANK YOU AND THE TOKENS FOR PROVIDING THOSE ONE OF A KIND BACKGROUND VOCALS IN THE STUDIO FOR ME WHEN I PRODUCED “98.6” & AIN’T GONNA lIE” w/ KEITH…UIVERSAL RECENTLY RELEASED THE KEITH CD
    IN JAPAN…BUT HAS NEVER RELEASED IT IN THE U.S.

    BEST REGARDS,
    KEEP THE FAITH

    JERRY ROSS

  7. Mac Joseph Says:

    Hank;
    Just want to say, I have been a lifelong fan of the Tokens;”Tonight I fell in Love”, has a special place in my heart from my early 60’s days in Chicago. Much luck to you in the future and thanks again for so many wonderful memories.

    MJ

  8. Mick Patrick Says:

    Thanks Artie, that was a good read (although not good
    to learn about Hank’s health). Not just as one of the
    Tokens, but also as one of the Bright Tunes Productions
    team, he’s a genuine S’pop hero. As a treat for Tokens
    fans, I’ve uploaded to musica (our members only
    listening lounge) the group’s 1967 re-vamp of
    “Wimoweh”. It’s from their “It’s A Happening World” LP
    (Warner Bros 1685). Please send my best wishes to Hank.

    Hey la,

    Mick

  9. clive scott Says:

    Hi, this is Clive Scott from Jigsaw. Just wanted to say that when Des Dyer and myself were writing songs like “Sky High” in the 70’s we were trying to emulate those great melodic pop songs like “He’s in Town” and “Portrait of My Love” that we had grown up listening to a few years earlier.All our best wishes to Hank, and thank you for the music.

  10. Robin Richardson Says:

    Thanks for the great music and get well very soon.

  11. alan gordon Says:

    Hank,where do the years go!!!It seems like only yesterday when I saw you visiting Neala Nemiroff in my apartment house in Brooklyn.Whether it’s the Linctones, Tokens, Daryl and the Oxfords or one of the best producers in the business you have always been one of my heroes.Get well soon and of course my thoughts and prayers are with you.Warmest Wishes, Alan Gordon

  12. David Zimelis Says:

    Hank:

    All I can say is “Thank you” for all the music and memories. I send my prayers and very best wishes.

    David Zimelis

  13. Julio Niño Says:

    Effervescent, imaginative, sparkling, surprising, those are some of the adjectives that came to my mind when I think of the inventive vocal arrangements made by The Tokens, either for themselves or for their Bright Tunes productions.
    Thanks for adding a little extra excitement to my life with your music. I hope you get better soon.
    Julio Niño.
    Spain.

  14. Kenny Young Says:

    Thinking of you Hank, you were a strong influence to our generation and beyond, your music will go on and on, and inspire our childrens children. thank you for the wonderful toons! and thanks Artie for this opportunity.

    with heart and light,
    Kenny


  15. Hi Hank!!!, thank you for your major influence in the music world. Matt Monroe’s version of “Portrait of My Love” is still on my top ten most favorite songs!!!. You are in my prayers my friend, J.D. Nicholas, The Commodores.

  16. Fred Clemens Says:

    Thanks Artie for the terrific article about a topic close to home, with one of the guys who helped to make it all happen. Hank and the Tokens were responsible for some of the most important tunes ever to put a smile on my face. 🙂 I’m glad he is taking such a positive outlook on life, doing things he really believes in and enjoys. That’s really the best route to recovery.

    God Bless you both… in life and your continued accomplishments.

    Fred Clemens

  17. Bobby Lloyd Hicks Says:

    Let me add my thanks as well, Artie. And to you too Hank for taking the time to share your memories. As a kid growing up in the mid-west I was in awe of those truly magical sounds you guys generated out of New York, which seemed a world away. Straight on, feel good music.
    And I appreciate the work you’re doing with SoundExchange. Pretty cool that Eddie Hodges came onboard the Spectropop list and through this interview you were able to contact him.
    My best wishes and prayers Hank…
    God bless,
    Bobby Lloyd Hicks

  18. Country Paul Says:

    Artie and Hank, thank you for the excellent interview. I have enjoyed the Tokens work when new since “Tonight I Fell In Love” first perked up my ears coming over the radio and throughout your career, then in retrospect I found out about your earlier work with Neil Sedaka, etc. I started in radio in college in 1962 (professional gigs began in ’64) and I have a foggy memory of visiting the Bright Tunes office in New York in ’62 or ’63 when I was the Music Director gathering records for the expansion of WBRU in Providence. The office was a beehive of activity, but I do remember seeing you, Hank, and being treated well by all concerned, which was a relief and a “mitzvah” to a nervous but enthusiastic teenager/music fan/aspiring DJ. The records – and the music – were and are much appreciated!

    To quote Fred Clemens, “God Bless you both, in life and your continued accomplishments.” I couldn’t have said it better.

    Country Paul

  19. Alan V. Karr Says:

    We should all wish to have so remarkable a career as Hank Medress has enjoyed-truly one of the only artists who can claim to have been recording at the dawn of rock and roll, yet who was able to update his music and sound fresh & current years later.

    Singer, musician (I love that walking bass and crisp drumming on He’s So Fine-Occam’s Razor, when applied to the rhythm section never sounded so sharp!), songwriter, producer, and executive-even while pausing to create the miracle of perfect sonic clone Tokens in the Happenings, swapping musical chairs at that dizzying rate probably made you feel the same way I felt watching that B. T. puppy spinning round our portable Magnavox.

    I don’t laugh, because your music ain’t funny-I smile because it’s beautiful and always in my heart.

  20. Simon White Says:

    Great interview guys..I love the ‘Earworm’ concept…now if only I could get ‘Tie A Yellow Ribbon’ out of my ***** head!

    Simon

  21. Peter Richmond Says:

    Great interview Artie, thanks Hank for sharing these great stories from your illustrious career.

    I wish you well in your quest to give artists their royalty entitlements through Sound Exchange and of course, in your fight against cancer.


  22. If “talent” and “effort” are the most essential requirements for recognition (“success” being only recognition’s bigger brother), Hank Medress got them both to spare. Any up-and-coming pop music researcher – no, even any sharp-eyed fan – can spot Hank here and there: on the second Monkees album, in many hits by Dawn, the Chiffons, the Happenings, not to mention his own Tokens…

    Surely Hank Meddress is one of the most heard-but-not-seen musicians this side of Knetchel, Kaye, Blaine et al.

    And here’s hoping that Hank wins this personal battle of his. As a song from this here Brazil goes, “God gives us cold weather according to our blankets”.

    Thanks to Artie for giving me this chance to thank Hank (“Thanks, Hank”? Not a bad title for a tribute album, I suppose) for the great music.

    Cheerio,

    Ayrton


  23. Hank, thanks so very much for the music. — I loved “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and sang along with everything by Chiffons and Tony Orlando. — I attended the Grammys the night they won for “Tie A Yellow Ribbon.” They were the perfect group to sing such a heartwarming song. I still remember how awed I was that they put on such a great show.

    Know that your contribution to the musical soundtrack of my life is gratefully acknowledged and appreciated. — You will remain in my thoughts and prayers. Stay positive!

    Marva

  24. Patti Dahlstrom Says:

    Dearest Hank,
    So many times we are inspired by or supported by people we never know. That is so true in your case.

    As I read your interview, I remembered exact moments in my life, as a child and as I grew up, when your music touched me emotionally and set off that daydream reality that writers and singers live in, unknown to others around them.

    Thank you so much for all you gave me through the years. You are in my prayer circle for good health and long life and many more years of sharing your talent.

    Thank you,
    Patti

  25. Austin Powell Says:

    Hank. Thankyou for so many great records. I bought many of them 30 and 40 odd years ago and they’re just as fresh and exciting today as they were back then. Thankyou for your memories of those days as well (and thankyou Artie)…..Wishing you well, Austin.


  26. Dear Hank

    I’m writing you from France, it will show you that your music is loved everywhere.
    A friend of mine introduced me to intercourse an album i rank with the Beach Boys Pet Sound & Beatles Sergent Pepper-
    BT Puppy was a wonderfull label too- and i love my copy of The Cinnamon 7′-
    My words are not very originals but i wanted to add that i’m writing a book on Sunshine and Bubblegum pop (i have interviewed Artie for it) and of course The Tokens will be a part of it-
    🙂
    Be sure we are with you-
    🙂
    Jean-Emmanuel

  27. roy clough Says:

    He’s So Fine an apt song for Hank.

  28. phil milstein Says:

    Howdy to Hank and Artie for such a fun and informative interview. I admit to being only a recent convert to The Tokens’ music, but the more credits I come across for Bright Tunes productions, the more I realize how much, in fact, I’ve been there as a fan all along! Long may you all run, Hank, which means: Get Well Soon! Best wishes, Phil M.

  29. Sam Cooper Says:

    Hank,
    To people like me, many of the important moments in our lives are defined by whatever music was on at the time. You’ve been responsible for several of those musical markers–something that I’m grateful for. To paraphrase the song that Bob Hope used as his theme, “Thanks for the legacy.”–your influence lives on in us. We’re lucky for you sharing your insights with Artie.
    Best wishes,
    Sam Cooper

  30. Brent Cash Says:

    Dear Mr. Medress,
    Hi,Brent here in Georgia.Whenever there’s a
    song I pick out to play at home (or in the car),I
    can usually get all the joy I need out of it from
    one listen.
    However,there are some records that I can’t
    seem to get enough of-requiring multiple listens
    in one sitting (“No Reply” by The Beatles and “Talk It Over In The Morning” by Anne Murray come to mind).
    In that same group of platters is “Sing Sweet Barbara” by The Sundae Train-written by the Margo-Margo-Medress-Siegel team,and produced by those same four guys along with Dave Appell.
    A person hitting “repeat” on whatever listening device they are using (in any decade) is someone with the thirsty pursuit of more magic.Thanks for the magic,Hank.Consider prayers from me a “done deal”.

    Brent Cash

  31. Margaret G. Still Says:

    Artie, thanks for everything. Hank, thanks for all the great music that meant especially much to this American who grew up halfway around the world from New York, and who LIVED for rock’n’roll music. I just pulled out and played one of my favorite Tokens 45s, “I Hear Trumpets Blow” – what a perfect gem! Thanks for all the music, and I hope you are better soon.
    Best,
    Margaret G. Still

  32. Tom Diehl Says:

    Hank,

    I’m probably one of the youngest fans of your music, I’ll be 22 in January. But having grown up with it, I’, just blown away at how much of my favorite music you have been involved with.

    All of the early Chiffons recordings are classics. Those great Tony Orlando and Dawn 45s still sound fresh and fantastic as well. The background vocals on 98.6 were what made that track wonderful as well.

    And the Tokens….i love the sound of Tonight I Fell In Love, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Portrait Of My Love, and even a fairly obscure B side, A Token Of Love, which I think is one of the best songs that many people don’t know about!

    I also think it is absolutely wonderful that with Sound Exchange you are helping recording artists receive their royalties. May God bless you always and I sincerely hope that you get better very soon.

    Best Wishes,
    Tom Diehl

  33. Mike Tuggle Says:

    Hank, I mainly grew up on Motown, Stax and Philly soul, but there was your music as well thanks to radio stations here in Chicago such as WLS and WCFL. Being one who always read the liner notes and track information, I knew who did what, and your name was present quite a lot. Thanks for the music and I sincerely hope you beat this thing. Mike

  34. steveo Says:

    Message to Hank Medress…

    Hank,
    Thanks afor all the wonderful music you and the Tokens have given us over the years…songs you have written and records you have produced…Enjoyed the Interview with Artie Wayne !
    I know you are going thru a rough time right now, But I want you to know all of us who love you and
    your music are praying for you, and i know you are going to be fine….. : )

    Keep Singin and keep Swingin ! ! !

    Steveo

  35. Will Stos Says:

    Hank, thank you for the music! “He’s So Fine” was the song that made me fall in love with 60s music and I’ve been a fan of your work ever since! Best wishes.

  36. Larry Lapka Says:

    “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” has tapped into many generations. It was one of the first songs that myself and my kids could sing to each other.Please get well soon.

  37. h.lee wolen Says:

    Hank-Although you didn’t remember me being signed to your production company in the sixties,I think fondly of you and all those incredible records you did in the sixties. Be tough and realize there are many of us who are in your corner.-Howard “H.Lee” Wolen

  38. Brian Toscano Says:

    Great interview Artie! You never disappoint! I hope Hank beats this cancer and gets well real soon.

    Brian

  39. Guy Lawrence Says:

    Greetings Hank from Wales, U.K.
    Yep, we dig the Tokens here too. Thanks for all the wondeful music – “I Hear Trumpets Blow”, “Greatest Moments…”, “Green Plant” …..the list is endless of course.
    Most of all – Get Well Soon!

    Guy

  40. Joe Wiltshire Says:

    Hank, a massive fan, especially of the Intercourse album..Theres quite a fan base building up around these parts..Get well soon..
    Joe

  41. Joe Somsky Says:

    HiYa Hank
    We met a few years back at one of the last
    performances at the World Trade Center Plaza.
    I was sitting two seats away from you and
    Toni Wine watching The New Tokens.
    Hope to meet you again……
    Joe Somsky
    Ellie Greenwich Fan Club

  42. Jean Thomas (Fox) Says:

    Hank,
    The sixties hold such wonderful memories for all of us. We had the best time just making music and having fun. Your music has filled me (and so many others) with great joy, which I have passed on to my children and I know they will pass to theirs. Our three year old grandson already sings “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”!! Keep up the good fight and stay with us for many years to come.

    The best of wishes,
    Jean Thomas (Fox)

  43. Roger Bean Says:

    Great thanks for the many years of amazing musical memories — best wishes for strength and courage in the fight ahead.

  44. Alan O'Day Says:

    Hank,

    Those were the days, my friend… So much I didn’t know about you before reading Artie’s interview! Thank you for the unforgetable music (and for being so nice, many years ago, to a young & naive songwriter named Alan O’Day). I join your many other fans in praying for your recovery.

    Warmly,

    Alan

  45. Eddie Hodges Says:

    Hi Hank,
    Man I rememeber gettin’ a sore throat singin’ that high vocal intro to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” over and over with my friends. I love the Tokens! And I remember when my girlfriend dedicated “He’s So Fine” to me one night on a call-in radio show we all loved – what a trip that was!
    From me and all of your thousands of fans – thanks for all the great music memories – they’re the best kind.
    God bless you, Hank.
    Eddie Hodges

  46. Clark Besch Says:

    Hank, I am glad you are doing better! Artie, another great interview. I have had many earworms, but I don’t think any were your songs. 🙂 LOVE the commercial jingles you guys did. I bought that double Cd the second I found out about it. “She Lets Her Hair Down”, “Don’t Worry Baby”, “Portrait of my Love”, “He’s in Town”, “Greatest moments” and the amazing “I Hear Trumpets Blow”–wow, what great music. Your music will live forever! Thanks so much! Clark Besch

  47. Laura Pinto Says:

    Hi Artie and Hank,

    Artie, great writing, great interview – interesting and informative. I learned a lot about the incredible career of an incredible guy. Thank you for the presentation.

    Hank, my best wishes to you for a thorough recovery. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Slay that dragon! And thanks for all of your wonderful contributions to the music world over the years.

    Laura

  48. Kingsley Abbott Says:

    Hi Hank
    I’m writing from a 300 year old country cottage, built of clay lump, set in the English countryside in Norfolk.
    In my ‘inner sanctum’ room of bits and bobs I have an awful lot of Tokens records, most of which i bought as I could find them way back in the sixties – faves include I’ll Do My Crying Tomorrow, Breezy, He’s In Town – and tomorrow it will be different ones!

    Your music has been wonderfully classy all the way through, the other productions too….and I find they are always records I can go back to time and time again. Your music has been appreciated by so many people over here in England, and I hope that all these wonderful messages help you raise a broad smile as you realise how much you have meant to people.

    Love from England

    best

    Kingsley Abbott

  49. rob pingel Says:

    Hank,

    Your great work with the Tokens, Chiffons, Happenings, and so many other famous and not so famous artists is thoroughly appreciated on this end. You and your colleagues always understood the essence of pure pop music, and how to present it. The quality and quantity is truly remarkable. Someone should compile a complete list of records/songs you are connected with.

    This past weekend I pulled out a handful of great Robert John singles on the Atlantic label, and there was your name on the arranging/producing credits. Is it true that his vocal on “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” replaced that of Lou Christie?

    Thank you for such a great body of work.

    Robert Pingel

  50. Steve Preston Says:

    While so many have mentioned Mr. Medress’s production work, I would like to chime in on him as a performer.

    Last summer, I had the pleasure of being at the Vocal Group Hall of Fame induction concerts at Wildwood, NJ. Being inducted (and performing) at the event were the Tokens. For the first time in 25 or so years, all four Tokens (Medress, the Margo brothers, and Jay Siegel) were on stage.

    Having seen Jay’s Tokens group and the Margo’s Tokens group separately in the past, I had never experienced Hank Medress in person, or the “original” Tokens in concert. As outstanding as the two current Tokens groups are, the complete lineup was simply amazing – and seeing Hank perform, with his vocals, shouts, and body movements during “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” made all the difference.

    Thank you, Hank, for being at the VGHF concerts and adding that special touch of magic and stage craft to the best performance of the entire three day event: the reunited Tokens.

  51. Bob Hanes Says:

    Dear Hank,
    I will sort of follow my friend B.L. HICKs lead and say that I too was “transformed” by the sounds you made from NYC.
    A west coast kid was I, amazed by the “life”, vibrance, & warmth, in he words, sounds, and “heart” of all your records. The Lion Sleeps Tonight was a huge inspiration to many of us out here on the “left coast”, caught up in the “folk momvement but seeking a truely unique performance….”there it is!”
    Just hearing the title always reminds me of he story Brian Wilson used to tell in interviews about what a huge influence and inspiration that record was to him and as a result his recordings of the sixtes. (btw: Brian also lists the Tokens as his favorite group and Jay Siegel as one of his favorite vocalist ever!). Your contribution to “bringing the east coast and west coast closer together with music will alway be paramount. The urban expression met the “laid-back generation” back in the day. And the Chiffons! whew! Wow! Huge!
    Just, THANK YOU!, for all the honest feelings and sounds.
    I know your path is hard right now, but I also know you will prevail! Our prayers are with you!
    I know the records you made in those halcyon days have helped and healed many of others over the years. I hope in some small way we are able to convey to you a little of what you have given us, the music you made kept us whole!
    warmest,
    bob hanes

  52. Michel Gignac Says:

    Mr Medress,

    I knew « The Lion Sleeps Tonight » of course, and “Hear The Bells”, but I really discovered The Tokens in 1967 when “Portrait Of My Love” and “It’s A Happening World” were on the Top 40 in Québec City (french Canada). That was only a beginning for the Tokens’ string of hits on my own charts, because then followed :
    Ain’t That Peculiar,
    Till (what an arrangement on that one; I could listen to it all the time ! ),
    Banana Boat Song,
    She Lets Her Hair Down
    Don’t Worry Baby
    Both Sides Now
    which all went on my Top 10.

    Then I bought my first Tokens’ album “It’s A Happening World”. I think that this is a masterpiece and, along with “Intercourse”, one of the best albums of all time in popular music. Since then, I’ve got all Tokens’ albums, even the CD with 60 commercials, and every Tokens’ songs that existed, I think !

    I also like the productions that you’ve done, for example for The Chiffons, Dawn and especially The Happenings (what an incredible group they were too !).

    Hank, you’ve always been in my hall of fame, and you should be in The Rock Hall Of Fame. I’m sure you’ll be well, because your music heals the world. Thank you for all you’re giving us.

    Michel

  53. Austin Roberts Says:

    Hi Hank,
    Met you in the late 60’s and then again when you produced my good friend Robert John.
    I’ve been in the business as a writer/artist/producer for 39 years and I want you to know that many of the records you’ve made have been some of my favorites,especially Tonight I Fell In Love. We have many mutual friends and have met though you may not remember.My memory is such that I can’t remember ttoday’s date,but I can tell you the first time I broke wind (long term is great).
    I hope you feel better soon and know that you are in my prayers.
    All the very best, Austin Roberts

  54. Brian Wilson Says:

    Dear Hank,
    This is Brian Wilson writing to you. I heard that you are having a rough time, and I wanted to send this message to you:
    “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” left a good impression on me when I first heard it. I still dig your music today and I hope you like my music also. I’m wishing that you will get well soon. All the best – Brian Wilson


  55. Dear Hank,
    Your work continues to keep you front and center,
    in the present tense of America’s pop culture.
    The solid way you’ve brought a humanizing influence into the
    Music Industry has won you a permanent place in the heart
    of all your peers, and those who find inspiration in your creation.
    Thank you for sharing such gifts!
    Van Dyke Parks


  56. Hank,

    I was disappointed that we never had the opportunity to meet when you became head of EMI Music Canada. I had left A&M as V.P. of A&R and moved to Vancouver.

    You’ve had an amazing and enviable career. My hope is that you will fully recover and continue adding to you legacy. Thanks for all the music you have made happen!
    And thanks to Artie for a terriffic interview.
    Michael Godin

  57. AL KOOPER Says:

    Hank,

    We go so far back I can barely see it anymore. I remember being
    an “honorary” Token and playing a show or two with you guys and scaring you with the driving “skills” of a 19-year-old. I remember
    turning the Tokens on for the first time – one of the most hilarious nights of our lives, I remember your unselfishness in recording some of my songs with The Tokens and Tony Orlando & Dawn. I remember some of the horrorshow businessmen we both got hooked up with, but most of all, I remember that our friendship endures today and I am so happy for that. Carry on, my friend, and
    keep on rockin !!!

    Al Kooper

  58. Chris Radcliffe Says:

    Hank,

    Wishing You A Happy Belated Birthday!
    I’ve Been A Fan For Many Years And Particularly Rate Your Production Work On The Four Pennies Rust Record Release With Great Esteem. Thanks For The Fantastic Music Of Your Past And The Even More Brilliant Sounds To Come!

    Cheers!

    Chris Radcliffe

  59. Steve Dworkin Says:

    Hi Hank,
    We never met, but I grew up listening to The Tokens. I think “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” was the first stereo album I ever bought. In the early 60s I sang in a group, so needless to say we included some Tokens songs in our act. From “Denise” to “Candida”, I was always a fan of your productions. I wish you a quick & full recovery. All the best, Steve Dworkin

  60. barry oslander Says:

    Hank & ARTIE:

    Both of you did a very entertaining interview, which I expected from both of you since your both major hams in the tenth degree. It alawys bring back such sweet reminders of the fine times working in the record biz with pro’s such as Hank. Artir, all the folks Mentioned from, The Lion Sleeps Tonight” days seem to talked to you with a glow in their eye’s and a smile on their face when telling their stories of the good old days of true down to earth rock and roll, the songs we still sing and hear even when the radio is not playing. Hank, when I read your words in the interview I could see your smile…..which in turn made me smile back….Thanks for sharing.

    For me it is great to know ad understand how those talented folks all came from the same placeas I did and had the same background of stick ball in the streets and football in any open lot in QUEENS, BRONX, BROOKLYN and even Philly…. So many are six degrees or closer to me and when I think of them and what and how they have effected the history of music, I feel good all over knowing them as real down home folks blessed with talent they used in a wonderful way….to make us all sing out and be happy. Hank, you had a big part of us all singing out and being happy….thanks.

    When working at ASSOCIATED RECORDING OR BELL SOUND OR even MERCURY RECORDS I was lucky to have worked in someway with the likes of Hanks M and did learn much about the power of the song. I Think the saying, SONGS MAKE ACTS, ACTS DO NOT MAKE SONGS I first heard from everyone OF the folks Artie has interviewed…… and when you go down very long the list of hits Hank has had, I’m sure he feels the same way….I have used this rule for years…So Hank thanks for the advice, I learned by spoken word and your music.

    Hank, we have met so many years ago before the word old was ever invented and I always thought you where off the wall, just the kind of talented person that was needed in the music biz,…and I was right just lookin at your track record. So with this said, I wish you the very best and thank you for your music and the enjoyment I still get from it. I will pray for you and family and than pray some more………….Warmest and best.
    Barry Oslander

  61. Stephen-Craig Ariistei Says:

    Dear Hank,
    I hope you have a great thanksgiving tomorrow. We all have a lot to be thankful for. I hope you called Mark Fishman and I hope your faith is still strong (belief in the existance of facts not yet in eveidence)! Our bodies are amazing things and nothing is impossible, as Artie can attest. And although I don’t personaly know you and we have never had the pleasure of meeting, Tony Byrne loved you like a brother – and that is good enough for me ! ! !
    Peace,
    Stephen-Craig Aristei
    (A Warner Raider)

  62. Joe Cerisano Says:

    Hank,
    This is Joe Cerisano. I always remember when Joey Powers brought me in to you and Dave Appel to hear me sing and how you guys gave me songs to sing and so much encouragement to keep on trying. That was all I needed, being a kid from the hills of West Virginia. You guys helped to give me a reason to believe. Well Hank, it all worked out for me and I thank you very much. You were a big part of the reason.. take care, joec

  63. Philip Bergman Says:

    Hank, I’m just a common man and a common fan. You, on the other hand are a legend, and a criminally underrecognized part of the history of rock and roll music. Hang tough. You can do it.


  64. […] I’m proud to have known him for as long as I did, he was always a friend and inspiration. I’m happy I was able to give him a chance to set the record straight about some controversial aspects of his career, which he never spoke about before in print. https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/10/31/hank-medress-the-unsung-hero-behind-the-lion-sleeps-tonig… […]

  65. michael harding Says:

    Respect for a man who lived for music and musicians. I did not know him. But my thoughts go to his family.
    A full life well lived, but too short. His music will live on.

  66. Ed Given Says:

    Hank- I have bee a Tokens fan since my high school days. Your harmonies and your sounds were unique and you guys were prolific recorders. I thought I had all of your records but recently I found a CD that had several songs that I had never heard. I hear Trumpets blow has always been a favorite of mine. I had the DJ at my daughters weeding play that song whie he showed a slide show of pictures. God Bless You and thank you for for the great entertainment.

  67. Marcia Berkowitz,Siegel Says:

    Hank and I were cousins we grew up together his grandmother and mine were sister You know the grown man but the boy was really a special person.
    He was alway a practical joker but he had a soft heart that was open to the world.
    He overcame many hardships in his youth that made him the great guy he was. We lost touch for years and just the year before he died we reconnected and it was as if we never lost track we just took up talking as if we never lost contact.All his fame never changed the guy
    I really miss him

  68. troy Says:

    you been here in lake havasu city before and we want you come back and have a concert here again we miss you


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