Sure, you've heard the tune before- as Wimoweh or The Lion Sleeps Tonight.
South African Solomon Linda, a cleaner at a Johannesburg record company as well as a beer hall singer, penned the song in the 1920's, but didn't record it until 1939. American folk music maven Alan Lomax came across the recording in the late 1940's and introduced it to his friend Pete Seeger, whose group, The Weavers, recorded the song under the title Wimoweh (this is a later Seeger recording, if I'm not mistaken). Then more folk artists began making their own recordings of the song. Then came the rock 'n' rollers, the first being The Tokens, whose 1961 recording (as The Lion Sleeps Tonight reached the top of the U.S. charts in 1961.
Solomon Linda died in 1962 with the equivalent of $25 in the bank.