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Death of Harry Belafonte: he was the one who sang “Day-O”, a popular anthem in arenas

Harry Belafonte dies: he sang “Day -O», a popular arena anthem


Harry Belafonte, the singer who popularized Day-O (The Banana Boat Song), died on Tuesday, leaving to mourn thousands of hockey fans who sing the first words of the tune during games as a rallying point when the scoreboard calls for it .

This is particularly the case at the home of the Canadiens, since the song has been played at the Bell Center since the early 2000s, confirmed to Journal Ray Lalonde, the organization's former Vice President and Chief Marketing and Sales Officer. 

But while the song no doubt brings back fond memories for many hockey fans (who often erroneously answer “hey oh” rather than “Day-O”, let's face it…), this one basically doesn't have nothing to do with sports. Even if it is, from the start, a song to answer.

Car Day -O (The Banana Boat Song) is actually a popular Jamaican hymn from the early 20th century, which tells the story of workers busy loading bananas onto boats at night. 

When day breaks (hence the word day), they demand their due from their boss, so that they can return home. 

The song is not originally the work of Belafonte, an American singer of Jamaican descent. However, it was he who recorded his most famous version, in 1956. The following year, it rose to number five on the Billboard charts. 

Beetlejuice and Freddy Mercury

Day-O didn't end up only in arenas over the years. It is also heard in Tim Burton's 1988 film Beetlejuice, in a scene where it is sung by bewitched guests at a business dinner.

And during the memorable Live Aid show at Wembley Stadium in London in 1985, Freddy Mercury, lead singer of Queen, rallied the 72,000 or so spectators by singing a cappella, to the same tune, a “hey-oh” no doubt still etched in the memory of the people who were there that day. 


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