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Calypso

Harry Belafonte

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Album Review

This is the album that made Harry Belafonte's career. Up to this point, calypso had only been a part of Belafonte's focus in his recordings of folk music styles. But with this landmark album, calypso not only became tattooed to Belafonte permanently; it had a revolutionary effect on folk music in the 1950s and '60s. The album consists of songs from Trinidad, mostly written by West Indian songwriter Irving Burgie (aka Lord Burgess). Burgie's two most successful songs are included — "Day O" and "Jamaica Farewell" (which were both hit singles for Belafonte) — as are the evocative ballads "I Do Adore Her" and "Come Back Liza" and what could be the first feminist folk song, "Man Smart (Woman Smarter)." Calypso became the first million-selling album by a single artist, spending an incredible 31 weeks at the top of the Billboard album charts, remaining on the charts for 99 weeks. It triggered a veritable tidal wave of imitators, parodists, and artists wishing to capitalize on its success. Years later, it remains a record of inestimable influence, inspiring many folksingers and groups to perform, most notably the Kingston Trio, which was named for the Jamaican capital. For a decade, just about every folksinger and folk group featured in their repertoire at least one song that was of West Indian origin or one that had a calypso beat. They all can be attributed to this one remarkable album. Despite the success of Calypso, Belafonte refused to be typecast. Resisting the impulse to record an immediate follow-up album, Belafonte instead spaced his calypso albums apart, releasing them at five-year intervals in 1961, 1966, and 1971.

Customer Reviews

A Family Favorite

I grew up to this music. My parents listened to this album during dinner when we lived in Panama. Later, my older sister would put this album on while we did our homework. She even made up a dance to "Come Back Liza." My favorite is "Jamaica Farewell" but "The Banana Boat Song" is alot of fun as well.

Don't be a Jack-A*s and buy!!

One of the most important and wonderful albums in the history of pop music. This is a classic that anybody with an interest in popular culture or music must have. It never bores and will appeal to the most cynic contemporary music lover, it is perfect!!

Great album from the late 1950's. A great reflection of what people were listening to! (The first album to sell over 1 million copies). Lil Wayne? Who cares! Another no talent punk who ripped off somebody else's music.

Biography

Born: March 1, 1927 in New York, NY [Harlem]

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

An actor, humanitarian, and the acknowledged "King of Calypso," Harry Belafonte ranked among the most seminal performers of the postwar era. One of the most successful African-American pop stars in history, Belafonte's staggering talent, good looks, and masterful assimilation of folk, jazz, and worldbeat rhythms allowed him to achieve a level of mainstream eminence and crossover popularity virtually unparalleled...
Full Bio