Mudcat Café message #3666688 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #155631   Message #3666688
Posted By: GUEST,henryp
06-Oct-14 - 02:29 PM
Thread Name: fifties popsongs that started as folk
Subject: RE: fifties popsongs that started as folk
Harry Belafonte (now aged 87) released "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" in 1956.

The song originated as a Jamaican folk song. It was thought to be sung by Jamaican banana workers, with a repeated melody and refrain (call and response); In 1955, American singer/songwriters Irving Burgie and William Attaway wrote a version of the lyrics for the Colgate Comedy Hour, in which the song was performed by Harry Belafonte.

Also in 1956, folk singer Bob Gibson, who had travelled to Jamaica and heard the song, taught his version to the folk band The Tarriers. They recorded a version of that song that incorporated the chorus of "Hill and Gully Rider", another Jamaican folk song.

This release became their biggest hit, reaching number four on the pop charts, where it outperformed Belafonte's version. The Tarriers' version was recorded by Shirley Bassey in 1957 and it became a hit in the United Kingdom. (From Wikipedia)