This song was written by German band leader Bert Kaempfert, and was released as the title track of his 1962 album. The album went Gold in his native country.
Whereas Kaempfert's recording failed to chart, Vaughn's cover reached #13 on the Billboard chart. Vaughn was Dot Records' staff producer.
The song and the album reflect the influence that Kwela music had on Bert Kaempfert. Kwela is a genre of music originating in Southern Africa, which prominently features the use of a penny whistle. This sound was also adapted in other successful Western music, notably Paul Simon's 1986 album Graceland.
In the liner notes to The Bert Kaempfert Collection, Ladi Geisler, the orchestra's bass guitarist, said: "Bert Kaempfert tried to swap the penny whistle for a piccolo. Now that was a real piece of innovation. Then, finally, it was all ready and Bert was really pleased, he had managed it, he had captured the sound of the penny whistle using the piccolo."
This was the original theme of the TV game show The Match Game ('60s version). It was reused as a theme for several later game shows.
Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 15th 1962, "Swingin' Safari" by Billy Vaughn & his Orchestra entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #70; and on September 2nd, 1962 it peaked at #13 and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100... It reached #5 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart... Between 1954 and 1966 he had twenty-eight recordings make the Top 100; with four reaching the Top 10, "Melody of Love" at #2 (for 1 week) in 1955, "Shifting Whispering Sand" at #5 in 1955, and in 1958 he released a record were both sides made the Top 10; the A-side, "Sail Along Silvery Moon", peaked at #5 while the B-side, "Raunchy", reached #10... The week "Melody of Love" was at #2 on Billboard's Best Sellers chart, the #1 record was "Sincerely" by the McGuire Sisters... R.I.P. Mr. Vaughn (1919 - 1991).
Barry from Sauquoit, NyIn 1957 Billy Vaughn pulled off a feat that no other instrumentalist has ever matched; he had a two-sided Top Ten hit record. "Sail Along Silvery Moon" peaked at #5 while the flip-side, "Raunchy", reached #10!!!
Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, Cacool little instrumental....
Kelley from Hickory, KyThis song is vaguely similar to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by the Tokins though there is no direct connection that I know of. Lion was released earlier and may have been an inspiration for Kaempfert
Murph from Peoria, IlThis song was not used as an advertising jingle for Clark Teaberry Gum. The song was called "The Mexican Shuffle" (renamed for the ad campaign as "The TeaBerry Shuffle," and was played by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Incidentally, the exposure the song and band got through the TeaBerry gum ad is what propelled them to fame.
Swingin Safari is similar enough to Mexican Shuffle that I think it would be easily confused.
Rato from Lisbon, PortugalThe original version, by Bert Kaempfert (in the album of the same name) is much better than this cover. The single was released in March 2, 1962.