A Swingin' Safari  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"A Swingin' Safari" is an instrumental composed by Bert Kaempfert in 1962. It was recorded by Kaempfert on Polydor Records and released in the United States on Decca Records, but failed to chart. It was then recorded by Billy Vaughn that same year, and Vaughn's cover reached number 13 on the Billboard charts in the summer of 1962.

The song features a distinctive main theme (reminiscent of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight") played on the tin whistle and a trumpet solo by Manfred "Fred" Moch. Kaempfert's original version served as the original theme music to the television game show The Match Game from 1962-1967. It is also featured as the main theme in the Swedish game show called Vi i femman, where two teams of fifth-graders compete against each other.

The song was a title track of an LP consisting of orchestrations of the South African kwela style of penny-whistle music popular in the 1950s.

The tune continues to be popular: being used in television advertisements for ING Direct in the UK, and as the rolling lap theme for the saloon stock car class in UK oval racing. It also features in the 2000 motion picture The Dish and over the end credits of the 2009 motion picture Mary and Max. It is also used in a 2010-11 "Become an Ex" anti-smoking PSA for the Ad Council. It was also used as the theme tune to the Blue Peter Royal Safari programme in 1971.


  • Joel Whitburn, The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (6th ed. 1996), p. 632.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "A Swingin' Safari" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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