The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)

Album: Calypso (1956)
Charted: 2 5
  • Day-o, day-o
    Daylight come and me wan' go home
    Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
    Me say day, me say day-o
    Daylight come and me wan' go home

    Work all night on a drink of rum
    Daylight come and me wan' go home
    Stack banana 'til de mornin' come
    Daylight come and me wan' go home

    Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
    Daylight come and me wan' go home
    Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
    Daylight come and me wan' go home

    Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
    Daylight come and me wan' go home
    Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
    Daylight come and me wan' go home

    Day, me say day-o
    Daylight come and me wan' go home
    Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
    Daylight come and me wan' go home

    A beautiful bunch o' ripe banana
    Daylight come and me wan' go home
    Hide the deadly black tarantula
    Daylight come and me wan' go home

    Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
    Daylight come and me wan' go home
    Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
    Daylight come and me wan' go home

    Day, me say day-o
    Daylight come and me wan' go home
    Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
    Daylight come and me wan' go home

    Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
    Daylight come and me wan' go home
    Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
    Daylight come and me wan' go home

    Day-o, day-o
    Daylight come and me wan' go home
    Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
    Me say day, me say day-o
    Daylight come and me wan' go home

Comments: 12

  • Parker Gabriel from Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaThe story told in the lyrics is actually horror-inspiring, as banana boat stevedores were little better than slaves, peons at mildest. And theirs were extremely hard lives, filled with especially cruel treatment from their bosses and/or forepeople. Worst of all was that so many of them were killed on the job from being literally worked to death--and treated as expendable.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyIrving Burgie, who went by the name Lord Burgess, passed away at the age of 95 on November 29th, 2019...
    He co-composed "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)", and on February 14th, 1957 Harry Belafonte's original version of the song peaked at #5 {for 2 weeks} on Billboard's Top 100 chart, it spent twenty weeks on the Top 100...
    And on January 24th, 1957 the Tarriers' covered version reached #4 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Most Played by Jockeys chart...
    As noted above, also in 1957 four other covered versions charted on Billboard's national charts, Fontane Sisters {#13 on the Jockeys chart}, Steve Lawrence {#18 on the Jockeys chart}, Sarah Vaughan {#19 on the Jockeys chart}, and Stan Freberg's parody version reached #25 on the Best-Sellers in Stores chart...
    Across the pond in the United Kingdom, Shirley Bassey's version peaked at #8 in March of 1957...
    May Mr. Burgie R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 20th 1957, the Tarriers performed "The Banana Boat Song" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    At the time the Tarriers' original version was at #7 on Billboard's Best Seller in Stores chart; and one position higher at #6 was Harry Belafonte's covered version of the song...
    For what it's worth; the song at #2 was "Young Love" by Sonny James, while at #3 was Tab Hunter's version of the same song...
    And holding down the two bottom positions of the Top 10 was Fats Domino; his "Blue Monday" was at #9 and his "Blueberry Hill" was at #10.
  • Jack from Burlington, NjWhen initially recording the song, being asked for the title, Harry (spelled) named it, "Day Done Light".
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOnDecember 23rd, 1956, two versions of "The Banana Boat Show" entered Billboard's Top 100 chart; the Fontane Sisters version peaked at #13 and spent 18 weeks on the Top 100 while Sarah Vaughan's version reached #19 and stayed on the Top 100 for 14 weeks...
    R.I.P. Geri Fontane (1921 - 1993), Bea Fontane (1915 - 2002), Marge fontane (1917 - 2003), and Ms. Vaughan (1924 - 1990).
  • Steve from South Central, FlIt is a Jamaican mento song, not calypso (Trinidad and Tobago). The name of the group is The Tarriers (not Terriers).
  • Adrian from Johor Bahru, MalaysiaDuring the ensuing war on terror there was a modified version of the song circulating on the internet which poked fun at then President George W Bush, Collin Powell and Osama bin Laden. It goes, Day O Daylite come and we drop the bomb ! Come Mr Taliban turn over bin Laden !
  • Megan from Stevenson, AlThis is such a classic loved by everybody. Completely awesome!
  • Kombucha Mushroom :) from Millihole, AustraliaHa ha I first heard this song on Beetlejuice :) yeahah hide the deadly black tarantula. . .
  • Rob from Detroit, MiShouldn't the lyric read: "Hide the deadly black
    tarantula?"
  • Lalah from Wasilla, AkThe first song on the B side of Calypso is called "STAR-O". It's the same tune except the dock workers are starting their shift. "Star a come and me carry me load". This is acutally a good album. My dad played it often when I was growing up so it reminds me of my childhood.
  • Darrell from EugeneA variation of this song (a sample is "Day-O, One-Day Sale, Sunday Only at the Bon Marche) was used in sale commercials for the now-defunct Bon Marche high-end department store chain (also famous for Frango candy) for many years. "The Bon" was very prominent in the Pacific Northwest, which is where I live and was taken over by Macy's some years ago. The store in my hometown is now a Macy's.
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