Irving Burgie ("Day-O" Songwriter) Passes Away at 95

Irving Burgie honoree during 38th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Ceremony – Show at Marriott Marquis in New York City New York United States

Irving Burgie honoree during 38th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Ceremony – Show at Marriott Marquis in New York City New York United States

"Irving Burgie wrote brilliant lyrics that found their way into the ears of people all over the world", said one of his biggest fans, poet Maya Angelou.

Burgie soon found his niche as a songwriter, and an annual scholarship in his name is awarded annually by the ASCAP Foundation to an African-American songwriter from New York City. It was even used as the wake-up call for astronauts on the Space Shuttle Atlantis in space in 1997, according to the Songerwriters Hall of Fame. Lil' Wayne used a sample of Day-O in his 6 Foot 7 Foot.

Musician Harry Belafonte, seen here performing on CBC in 1974, recorded many of Burgie's songs for Belafonte's 1956 top-selling album Calypso. He and lyricist William Attaway rewrote the song, which went on to become a global hit - clocking 31 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart - that has been revived many times over the years, from a concert shout-out by The Kinks to a comic scene in the 1989 film "Beetlejuice".

He performed under the name Lord Burgess and wrote eight of the 11 songs on Belafonte's blockbuster 1956 album "Calypso", including "Day-O", which was based on a Jamaican folk song.

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His other well-known songs include Island in the Sun, Jamaica Farewell and Mary's Boy Child, which he co-wrote. He also wrote the 1963 off-Broadway musical Ballad for Bimshire that starred Ossie Davis.

Brooklyn-born Mr Burgie did not begin pursuing a career in music until he returned from serving in an all-black US Army battalion in World War Two. Burgie studied at the Juilliard School of Music, University of Arizona and University of Southern California.

His death was confirmed by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, who called for a moment of silence for the man who wrote its national anthem.

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