“Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” is a single from Harry Belafonte’s 1956 album Calypso is an adaptation of a vernacular Jamaican work song. This version of the song was adapted by Barbadian singer, Jamaica Farewell or Irving Burgie.
The song hearkens back to an era when the banana trade thrived in Jamaica before the predominance of banana republics. The call-and-response and repetition used in the song speak to the monotony of the work of loading bananas on ships in the Caribbean.
“Day-O” reached #5 on the Billboard Charts in 1957, and remains a famous song cited in a number of more current pop culture references such as the possession scene in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice (1988) and Lil Wayne’s “6 Foot 7 Foot.”