Calypso (album)

Studio album by Harry Belafonte
Released 1956
Recorded August 18, October 20, November 9, 1955 at Webster Hall, New York City
Genre Mento, calypso
Length 31:23
Label RCA Victor
Producer Ed Welker, Herman Diaz Jr., Henri René
Harry Belafonte chronology
An Evening with Belafonte

Calypso is the third studio album by recording artist Harry Belafonte, released by RCA Victor (LPM-1248) in 1956. The album became his second consecutive number-one album on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, where it stayed for 31 consecutive weeks.

Album information

The first track "Day-O (Banana Boat Song)" largely contributed to the success of the album and it is still the song for which Harry Belafonte is best known, reaching number five on Billboard's Pop chart.

It is a traditional Jamaican folk song, not a calypso, sung 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 (this is the meaning of the lyric "Come, Mr. Tally Man, tally me banana / Daylight come and me wan' go home.")

The third track, "Jamaica Farewell", is a calypso folk song about the beauties of the West Indian islands and a love left behind. This was the first album on which it was published. It reached number 14 on Billboard's Pop chart, becoming the second hit from the album.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic [1]

Calypso is the first LP album to sell over one million copies. Several singles, including Glenn Miller's "Chattanooga Choo-Choo," Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," and Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons" had surpassed 1 million copies previously. The album is number four on Billboard's "Top 100 Album" list for having spent 31 weeks at number 1, 58 weeks in the top ten, and 99 weeks on the U.S. charts. Allmusic gave the album 5 stars out of 5 and called it, "a record of inestimable influence".

"Day-O" was used in a dinner scene in the Tim Burton film Beetlejuice. "Man Smart (Woman Smarter)" was also featured in Beetlejuice as well as The Simpsons and I Love Lucy episodes.

Track listing

No. TitleWriter(s) Length
1. "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)"  Traditional, arranged by William Attaway, Harry Belafonte, Lord Burgess 3:02
2. "I Do Adore Her"  Lord Burgess 2:48
3. "Jamaica Farewell"  Lord Burgess 3:02
4. "Will His Love Be Like His Rum?"  Attaway, Belafonte 2:33
5. "Dolly Dawn"  Lord Burgess 3:13
6. "Star O"  Harry Belafonte, Lord Burgess, William Attaway 2:02
7. "The Jack-Ass Song"  Lord Burgess, William Attaway 2:52
8. "Hosanna"  Lord Burgess, William Attaway 2:34
9. "Come Back Liza"  Lord Burgess, William Attaway 3:03
10. "Brown Skin Girl"  Norman Span 2:43
11. "Man Smart (Woman Smarter)"  Norman Span 3:31


Production notes:


  1. link
Preceded by
My Fair Lady by Original Cast Recording
The King And I by Soundtrack
The Eddy Duchin Story by Carmen Cavallaro / Soundtrack
Billboard 200 number-one album
September 8–29, 1956
October 20 - December 1, 1956
Succeeded by
Elvis by Elvis Presley
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