Irving Burgie: Songwriter of calypso hit Day-O dies aged 95

December 2, 2019

US composer Irving Burgie, who helped to popularise Caribbean music with hit songs like Day-O, has died aged 95.

His death was confirmed by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, who called for a moment of silence for the man who wrote its national anthem.

Mr Burgie is best known for helping singer Harry Belafonte bring calypso music to the mainstream.

The 1950s song Day-O went on to be used in films, adverts and even as a wake-up call for astronauts in space.

The calypso hit, also known as The Banana Boat Song, featured in the popular film Beetlejuice and has been sampled by rapper Lil Wayne and singer Jason Derulo.

His website says his songs have sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Mr Burgie wrote eight of the 11 songs on Harry Belafonte’s 1956 album Calypso, which was the first album in the US to sell more than a million copies.

Image caption
Mr Burgie wrote a number of songs for Harry Belafonte
During his career, the composer worked with artists including Jimmy Buffett, Chuck Berry and Sam Cooke.

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