Five-Star Fav: Fresh Off The Boat   6 comments

It’s always a bit of a challenge to put together a new edition of the GMC Special Feature known as Five-Star Favs because it’s meant to spotlight a particular song by a specific artist, one that is – you know – a favorite of mine. The difficulty is that it goes against my normal posting practice, which is to show a video of one song and a link to a different one, or at least showcase the same song by two different artists. But one way around that is to follow the same method I’ve used before, by furnishing a link to the song itself while also showing a classic movie scene built around it. So you might say it’s the same song from two different perspectives.stars

If ever a performer was identified with a particular song, it’s Harry Belafonte and “Banana Boat Song (Day-o).” But even though that’s my choice today, it might surprise you to hear that his record was not the most popular version when it was issued in 1956. A slightly different rendition of the Jamaican mento folk song by a group known as the Tarriers actually charted higher. (Sounds like a good subject for another day.)

But there’s little doubt that Belefonte’s version had staying power, and had a lot to do with the subsequent popularity of Calypso music. It also generated a lot of different covers through the years, including several satirical versions, and sometimes it even appeared in movies. One of the best examples occurred in the 1988 film Beetlejuice, in which a group of smug dilettantes sat down for dinner in a so-called haunted house, and soon found that the spooks were in charge.

harrycdHarry Belefonte – “Banana Boat Song (Day-o)”

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6 responses to “Five-Star Fav: Fresh Off The Boat

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  1. One of the great spoofs of this song was by my all-time favorite comedy duo, Wayne and Shuster, in one of their sketches. I don’t remember the details but the sketch involved Egyptian archeology and Johnny translated the lyrics from hieroglyphics. I can’t seem to find a link to this particular video online.

  2. I bet it is, Les. If you find it, let us know. Meanwhile, here’s a version by Stan Freberg, who was also pretty good with the spoofs.

  3. Always been a fan of Stan’s version. Not by any means measuring up to Stan’s level, in the late eighties I was working a construction job in Alabama near where my best friend lives. He and his family love tomatoes and that year he decided to plant a huge crop of tomatoes. In the end he had a difficult time harvesting them all because there were so many. Ended up with a big, smelly mess on his huge plot of land where he planted them. Based on that incident I wrote and recorded a parody using “The Banana Boat Song” as the musical vehicle for delivering my harassment. Here’s a link to an mp3 file of the musical parody if you care to give it a listen….

    The Tomato Glut Song

  4. Thanks Alan. Good story. Do you by chance have a streaming (or play) link for the song?

  5. Actually I don’t use any storage service that allows streaming. However, I have uploaded the file to my WordPress Media Library and am going to insert the link to that file below. Have not a clue if it will work or not. If not… just delete this comment. 🙂

    (Deleted link)

  6. Didn’t work but thanks for trying, Alan. (I deleted the link but left your comment.)

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