Harry Belafonte, James Taylor a magical combo. Here’s two gems, swauve gents writing and singing the hits. There will be several other opportunities to drool over Harry and James so I’ll do that later and explore just the song origins here.
“Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)“ is a traditional Jamaican mento folk song, the best-known version of which was sung by Harry Belafonte. Despite the song’s mento influences, “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” is widely known as an example of calypso music. It is a work song, from the point of view of dock workers working the night shift loading bananas onto ships. Daylight has come, the shift is over and they want their work to be counted up so that they can go home. Other versions:
- “Banana Boat (Day-O)” by Stan Freberg, produced in the 1950s by Capitol Records, features ongoing disagreement between an enthusiastic lead singer and a bongo-playing beatnik (Peter Leeds) who “don’t dig loud noises” and had the catchphrase “You’re too loud, man”. When he hears the lyric about the “deadly black taranch-la” [actually the highly venomous Brazilian wandering spider or banana spider], the beatnik protests, “Don’t sing about spiders, man! Like, I don’t dig spiders“. Stan Freberg’s version was the basis for the TV advert for the UK chocolate bar Trio in the mid-1980s.
- Dutch comedian André van Duin released his version in 1972 called Het bananenlied: the banana song.
- The Flash animation ”Osama Bin Laden Has Nowhere To Run, Nowhere To Hide”, produced by cards-n-toons.com shortly after the September 11 attacks, features a parody version of the song apparently performed by Colin Powell (with George W. Bush on bongos). The main refrain is “Come Mr. Taliban, turn over bin Laden! (Payback come then we drop the bomb)”.
“Jamaica Farewell“ is a calypso about the beauties of the West Indian Islands. The lyrics for the song were written by Lord Burgess (Irving Burgie). Lord Burgess was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1926. His mother was from Barbados and his father was from Virginia. The song first appeared on Harry Belafonte‘s phenomenally successful album Calypso. It reached number fourteen on Billboard‘s Pop chart.
Circle Round the Sun & Somethin’ In the Way She moves. Both written by the lovely James Taylor. Some sweet easy listening that made me sway.
James Vernon Taylor (born March 12, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Taylor was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. Taylor achieved his major breakthrough in 1970 with the #3 single “Fire and Rain” and had his first #1 hit the following year with “You’ve Got a Friend“, a recording of Carole King‘s classic song. His 1976 Greatest Hits album was certified Diamond and has sold 12 million US copies. Following his 1977 album, JT, he has retained a large audience over the decades.
Um, this fantastic and doesn’t relate to my post but you should watch. lol.
- Monday: Harry Belafonte Film Screening (cuabj.wordpress.com)
- Happy Birthday to “King of Calypso” Harry Belafonte (repeatingislands.com)
- Harry Belafonte Calls on America to Heal its Racial Wounds and Regain its Status as a Moral Compass for the World (sacbee.com)