Harry Belafonte is one of the most influential and celebrated musicians of our times. In addition to his famous love of calypso, his output spans multiple genres including folk, blues, gospel, show tunes, and American popular standards. Always a student of music, his love of the growing American jazz scene led to his first live performance being backed by the Charlie Parker band, including Parker, Max Roach and Miles Davis.
His 3rd album, Calypso, opened the door for calypso music in the US and was the first full-length LP to sell a million copies, in both the US and England. Several of its tracks, including “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” (also a million seller), “Jamaica Farewell” and “Man Smart (Woman Smarter)” became instant classics. Belafonte has earned a further 5 gold albums in his career.
He was also instrumental in introducing many world artists to American audiences including Miriam Makeba and Nana Mouskouri and was one of the early driving forces being the massive USA for Africa project which resulted in “We Are the World” and helped raise almost $100,000,000 for African famine relief. On April 5th, 1985, “We Are the World” was played on over 8,000 radio stations, simultaneously.
Belafonte has received two Grammy awards (best folk performance for Swing Dat Hammer, 1960 and best folk recording for An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba, 1965) has has two recordings inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame (the single of “Day-O” and the LP Belafonte at Carnegie Hall) and received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2000.
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