12.02.2019

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

Irving Burgie, Songwriter of Calypso Hit ‘Day-O,’ Dies at 95 Credit: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Songwriter's Hall of Fame

Composer Irving Burgie, who helped popularize Caribbean music and co-wrote the enduring Harry Belafonte hit “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” has died at the age of 95.

At the Barbados Independence Day Parade on Saturday, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced Burgie died Friday.

“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.”

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