This remains the most popular mainstream calypso song, and the song most identified with Belafonte. It was not the first calypso hit in America, however. That honor goes to The Andrews Sisters - three white girls from Minnesota - who had a #1 in 1945 with "Rum and Coca-Cola
," a song written and originally recorded by the Trinidadian musician Lord Invader.
In the '50s, as the "calypso craze" took hold, other white acts had hits in the genre, often with novelty numbers (Perry Como with ""Pa-Paya Mama"; Georgia Gibbs with "Somebody Bad Stole De Wedding Bell"), but Belafonte had authenticity on his side; his father was from the West Indies, and his mother from Jamaica, where he lived for about five years growing up.