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I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song) by Los Lobos

The most interesting news story to emerge from New Zealand this weekend was an attempted monkey burglary at Wellington Zoo. Thieves broke into the squirrel monkey enclosure with bolt cutters, but were fought off by the small primates. Despite only weighing a kilogram, the monkeys only sustained minor injuries while biting the thieves and all were found safe the next morning.

Los Lobos are one of America’s most accomplished bands, around since 1973 with their blend of American rock and roll and music informed by their Latin roots. Despite a distinguished, critically acclaimed career, they’re something of a one-hit wonder – their 1987 cover of Ritchie Valens’ ‘La Bamba’ was easily their most well known international hit. But they have plenty of worthwhile albums of originals to explore – 1992’s Kiko is a career highlight – and it seems a little unfair to select another cover to feature here. But this cover of this well-loved swinging Disney song, originally from The Jungle Book, is excellent, showing the band’s adaptability.

‘I Wan’na Be Like You’ originally appeared on a compilation album, Stay Awake, which fellow blogger Cincinatti Babyhead covered recently, and which features versions of famous Disney songs from artists from the likes of Suzanne Vega, Tom Waits, and The Replacements. I’m only familiar with the song from the band’s excellent compilation Just Another Band From East L.A..

Now I’m the king of the swingers, the jungle V.I.P
I reached the top and had to stop
And that’s what’s bothering me
I want to be a man, man-cub, and stroll right into town
And be just like those other men
I’m tired of monkeying around
Ooh-bi-doo, I wan’na be like you
I wanna walk like you, talk like you, too
You see it’s true, an ape like me
Can learn to be ooh hoo ooh man too ooh ooh
Now don’t try to kid me, man-cub, I’ll make a deal with you
What I desire is man’s red fire to make my dreams come true
So give me the secret, man-cub, clue me what to do
Give me the power of man’s red flower so I can be like you
Ooh-bi-doo, I wan’na be like you
I wanna walk like you, talk like you, too
You see it’s true, an ape like me
Can learn to be ooh hoo ooh man too ooh ooh
Now here is you part of the deal ’cause
Lay the secret on me of man’s red fire
You hoo hoo, I wanna be like you
I wanna walk like you, talk like you, too ooh
And you see it’s true, an ape like me
Can learn to be ooh hoo man too ooh ooh
Ooh-bi-doo, I wan’na be like you
I wanna walk like you, talk like you
You see it’s true, true of me, like me
Can learn to be ooh hoo ooh man too

13 thoughts on “I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song) by Los Lobos Leave a comment

  1. I’ve had a copy of that album in my Discogs cart since CB’s post… just waiting on the right time to purchase (when something else hasn’t shouted “but me!”). Anyhoo, I don’t know too much Los Lobos… mainly How Will The Wolf Survive and some other tracks… I quite like this one too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I got a notice that you covered this song. Very cool! Los Lobos are just flat out a great band with top notch musicianship and great musical ideas. I’ve been hanging with them for a long time. Steve Berlin left the Blasters to join LL that’s how I discovered them. As I noted he blows some good sax in this one.
    I love your opening on the take. I love monkey stories and monkey songs. There are some great ones floating around in the music world. Thom at Immortal Jukebox did a piece on that a while ago. Good piece!

    Liked by 1 person

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