Home Uncategorized Irving Burgie, Who Wrote Calypso Hits for Harry Belafonte, Dies at 95

Irving Burgie, Who Wrote Calypso Hits for Harry Belafonte, Dies at 95

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Irving Burgie, Who Wrote Calypso Hits for Harry Belafonte, Dies at 95


Harry Belafonte during the calypso fad of the fifties, died on Friday in Brooklyn. He was ninety five.

His demise was verified by his son Andrew.

Recognized skillfully as Lord Burgess, Mr. Burgie (pronounced BURR-gee) was at his height in 1956 when he wrote eight of the eleven tracks on Mr. Belafonte’s celebrated album “Calypso,” among them “Jamaica Farewell,” “I Do Adore Her” and “Dolly Dawn.”

The album, reported to be the initial by a solitary artist to promote far more than a million copies, was No. 1 on the Billboard chart for 31 weeks and aided propel Mr. Belafonte to stardom and make calypso tunes recognised internationally. One particular of the most important hits from the album was “Day-O” (“The Banana Boat Song”), based mostly on a Jamaican folk tune. Mr. Burgie and William Attaway wrote the lyrics for the version sung by Mr. Belafonte, which he initially performed on television on “The Colgate Comedy Hour” in 1955. It grew to become Mr. Belafonte’s signature song.

Calypso “revolutionized music” by introducing Afro-Caribbean rhythms to the pop mainstream, Mr. Burgie told the journal American Tunes in 2016.

“Island in the Sun,” an additional Belafonte strike, for the 1957 motion picture of the exact title starring Mr. Belafonte, Joan Fontaine, James Mason and Dorothy Dandridge.

Mr. Burgie experienced started to create a songs job prior to his association with Mr. Belafonte, undertaking at clubs like the Blue Angel in Chicago in 1953 and the Village Vanguard in New York in 1954. In the calypso tradition of adopting a flamboyant stage title, he grew to become — at the recommendation of Max Gordon, the Vanguard’s proprietor — Lord Burgess.

“If there were being an aristocracy in the globe of calypso,” the critic Robert Shelton wrote in The New York Periods in 1968, examining a live performance by Lord Burgess at Carnegie Corridor, where he carried out with a 6-piece band and a dancing refrain, “Lord Burgess would be one particular of the reigning figures.”

He additional: “The audience had a incredibly excellent time, it appeared. They comprehended or had earlier encountered and mastered Lord Burgess’s lyrics, which are central to the fashion. Even with the barrier of dialect, slang and speed, he seemed a jolly and artful person who moved with his songs and moved many others with it.”

New York Metropolis Mission Culture, that he satisfied Mr. Belafonte in the summer of 1950. With a popular qualifications — each experienced been born in New York City (Mr. Belafonte in Harlem) and equally had mothers and fathers from the Caribbean — they struck up a friendship.1988 Tim Burton film “Beetlejuice.”John S. Wilson wrote admiringly: “Mr. Belafonte might have gotten more than the tracks from Lord Burgess. He may have gotten the way of singing them.”

That very same 12 months, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Britain produced “Island in the Sunlight,” an album of Mr. Burgie’s music. Mr. Burgie unveiled his initial solo album, “Island in the Solar: The Greatest of Irving Burgie,” in 1996, and one more, “The Father of Modern Calypso,” in 2003.

“Day-O!!!: The Autobiography of Irving Burgie” was released in 2007, the exact same 12 months that Mr. Burgie was inducted into the Songwriters Corridor of Fame.

Superstar Route at the Brooklyn Botanic Back garden, joining other Brooklyn luminaries like George Gershwin, Woody Guthrie and Jackie Robinson.

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