Songwriter of Calypso Hit ‘Day-O,’ Irving Burgie, Dies at 95

Irving Burgie is dead.

THR is reporting that the composer who helped popularise Caribbean music and co-write the Harry Belafonte hit “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” dued on Friday. This was confirmed by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley at the Barbados Independence Day Parade.

About the legend, THR says:

“Day-O,” written in 1952, has been ubiquitous, appearing in everything from the film and Broadway musical Beetlejuice to an E-Trade commercial. “Day-O” was also the wake-up call for the astronauts on two Space Shuttle missions in the 1990s. When a superstar list of music royalty gathered to film the “We Are the World” video in 1985, most burst into a playful version of “Day-O” in between takes. Lil’ Wayne used a sample of “Day-O” in his “6 Foot 7 Foot.”

According to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Burgie’s songs have sold over 100 million records throughout the world. Many were recorded by Belafonte, including eight of the 11 songs on Belafonte’s 1956 album Calypso, the first album to sell over 1 million copies in the U.S. Burgie also penned songs for The Kingston Trio (“The Seine,” “El Matador” and “The Wanderer”) and for other groups.

Read all about his biography here.

Leave a Reply