Harold George "Harry" Bellanfanti, Jr. (born March 1, 1927), better known as Harry Belafonte, is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist. One of the most successful Caribbean American pop stars in history, he was dubbed the "King of Calypso" for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. His breakthrough album Calypso(1956) is the first million selling album by a single artist.Belafonte is perhaps best known for singing "The Banana Boat Song", with its signature lyric "Day-O". He has recorded in many genres, including blues, folk, gospel, show tunes, and American standards. He has also starred in several films, most notably in Otto Preminger's hit musical Carmen Jones (1954), Island in the Sun (1957) and Robert Wise's Odds Against Tomorrow (1959).
AllMusic Review by Cary Ginell
An otherwise fine retrospective of many of Harry Belafonte's best-known performances from the 1950s is spoiled by RCA producer Ethel Gabriel's insistence upon using the disastrous "electronic reprocessing" system (tinny high end on one channel, muffled low end on the other) that destroyed so many reissues in the 1960s and '70s. Although most of the monaural tracks were given the above separation treatment, three, "Hava Nagila," "When the Saints Go Marching In," and "Danny Boy," all from An Evening with Belafonte, were taken from the phony stereo master utilizing the even worse delay between channels, making them totally unlistenable. Three other tracks, "Mama Look a Boo Boo," "John Henry," and "All My Trials," are issued in true stereo, coming from the 1959 Belafonte at Carneige Hall album. The recording of "Matilda, Matilda," identified as supposedly the rare 1953 single version, is instead the one featured on the 1956 Belafonte album. RCA's Legendary Performer series booklets are usually chock full of session sheets and discographical detail, but this album is nothing more than a souvenir program.