Considered the father of modern calypso music, Irving Burgie wrote the song Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) that was used in Tim Burton's film, Beetlejuice.
Irving Burgie, musician and songwriter popularly known as "Lord Burgess," a pioneer of calypso music who was able to popularize Caribbean music around the world, passed away on 29 November at the age of 95.
According to a report, his death was caused due to heart complications that he had been suffering for a few years now. His death was announced by Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados at the Independence Day Parade, who called for a moment of silence in his honor. Burgie penned the Barbados National Anthem titled, “In Plenty and in Time of Need.”
Some of the hits composed by Burgie include, “Island in the Sun,” “Jamaica Farewell” and the Christmas-themed song “Mary’s Boy Child.” But he is best known for his composition of the song, "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)," which was a part of the 11 track album Calypso by Harry Belafonte.
This song that was originally composed in the 1950s has been able to withstand the test of time and has made its way into movies like Beetlejuice and has even been sampled in a hit song by Lil Wayne titled "6 foot 7 foot."
Irving Burgie “Lord Burgess” has died at the age of 95. Famous songwriter who did the Day-O song The song was recorded in 1955 but I know most remember it from Beetlejuice. pic.twitter.com/pr0GnOdlsS— Jersquall (@Jersquall) 1 December 2019
The song appears in the iconic scene from Tim Burton's film Beetlejuice where the resident ghosts of the Maitlands, try and scare away the Deetzes and their dinner party guests whom they possess and make them dance to the song Day-O, before six monstrous hands try and grab them.
This song was also the prime placement in the Alex Timbers-directed musical based on the horror-comedy film. Burgie attributed the song's 63-year-long event-filled history to creativity and longevity.
“I’ll be 95 years old in July. A lot of people like that — that I’m still alive and kicking!” Burgie told the Daily News from his home this week.
Other than being used as soundtracks for advertisements, this song has also made its way to space in 1997 where the astronauts on the Space Shuttle Atlantis used it as a wake-up call, according to the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
His songs have sold over 100 million records throughout the world. His autobiography that was released in 2007 was also named after the song "Day-O."
Irving Burgie, whose mother was from Barbados and father was American, was born in 1924 in Brooklyn. As a kid, he played in a local drum and bugle corp but still did not take up music seriously.
He only considered pursuing music after he returned from serving in an all-black U.S. Army battalion in World War II and used his income from the army to fund his education at Juilliard, where he majored in voice and also learned how to play the guitar.
Rest in Peace, Irving.