1950s EASY-POP Songs and Singers...on the verge of Rock 'n Roll
Harry Belafonte (born March 1, 1927)
Famous POP hit during the 50s: The Banana Boat Song (Day-O) 1957
Harry Belafonte also had hits with Scarlet Ribbons in 1952 and Jamaica Farewell in 1955.
Recording career with hits on the charts: 1952-1957 Record Label: RCA Victor
Harold Belafonte, Jr., born in Harlem, but partly raised in Jamaica, dropped out of school in the ninth grade and joined the US Navy. With little life direction, he was attracted to the arts. In the late 1940s he was part of the legendary Negro Ensemble Theater and he studied at the famed Dramatic Workshop in New York City alongside Marlon Brando. He signed a recording contract in 1952 and reached the peak of his recording success from 1956 to 1962. Starting as a ‘straight pop’ singer in New York City nightclubs, he began to specialize in happy-go-lucky folk music and West Indian calypso. His clear, silky voice, his good looks, and his assimilation of folk and world rhythms made him a national sensation—unparalleled for an African-American pop star before the civil rights movement. He also appeared in eight films including ‘Calypso,’ ‘Carmen Jones,’ and the controversial ‘Island in the Sun’ in 1957. In 1959, his live LP re-cording ‘Belafonte at Carnegie Hall’ spent three years on the charts.