a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History

Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)

Vocals: Fish

Original Artist: West Indian folk song

Historian: Erik Swain

Harry Belafonte's popularization of “Banana Boat Song (Day-O),” a folk song from Trinidad, was a major cultural event in 1956-57. It started a worldwide calypso craze and made Belafonte an international superstar. That’s not relevant to Phish’s rendition, though. They played it at the 7/6/97 Desenzano soundcheck because it is, as Trey put it, “the official limbo song,” and the band needed to play something for the last round of the audience limbo contest in progress. Fishman makes a brief attempt at singing the words, but the performance is really just Page playing the melody on piano and the others following along halfheartedly.

Phish, "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" – 7/6/97, Desenzano, Italy

Submit notes/corrections

Login Register