The Guitar

From This Might Be A Wiki
Music video for "The Guitar"
Rehearsal for the music video
Drawing, from the Apollo 18 promo, representing the song

song name The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Apollo 18, The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) (Promo), Direct From Brooklyn, Dial-A-Song: 20 Years Of They Might Be Giants, A User's Guide To They Might Be Giants: Melody, Fidelity, Quantity, Rhino Hi-Five: They Might Be Giants (EP), Flood + Apollo 18, 50,000,000 They Might Be Giants Songs Can't Be Wrong
year 1992
first played January 23, 1992 (954 known performances)
run time 3:49
sung by John Flansburgh; Laura Cantrell sings the "Lion Sleeps Tonight" chorus.


  • The theme from this song is borrowed from the Tokens hit, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". Even though these words never appear in the song, the record label insisted the subtitle appear in the song name (source: Direct From Brooklyn DVD commentary).
  • The music video for the song features (extremely) brief cameos of Jon Spencer, Joshua Fried, and Robin Goldwasser. The "drummer" was played by J Otto Siebold, who had previously done the animation for the "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" video.
  • Despite what you see in the video, John Linnell does not play bass guitar on this song, nor does Flansburgh play trumpets.
  • Filming locations: 18 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn (John Linnell's former apartment, a.k.a. Quiet Life); McCarren Park, Brooklyn (and surrounding streets in Northside); Warsaw at The Polish National Home, Brooklyn.
  • During live performances, the bridge is replaced with a solo by either Marty Beller, Danny Weinkauf, or Dan Miller. Sometimes a future of sound prophecy is performed by John Linnell. John Flansburgh is also known to stick his guitar into the audience during parts of the song.
  • Featured as background music in a 2013 television ad for the Buick Encore, "Dinosauria".
  • "Boat Of Car" singer Margaret Seiler was the original choice for the vocals in the "Lion Sleeps Tonight" chorus, but she wasn't available to record.

Song Themes

Album Lead-Ins, Animals, Colors, Counting, Music, Non-John Vocals, Numbers, People (Imaginary), Precious Metal, Questions, Science, Songs With Handclaps, Space, Telecommunication, Title Not In Lyrics, TMBG Remakes, Transportation


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Current Rating

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The Guitar is currently ranked #266 out of 1010. (169 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.66)