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0 Harry Belafonte's Carnegie Hall Activism

  • Songs
  • by Kingsley H. Smith
  • 04/27/2023

Major League Baseball lovers may or may not know that it's Harry Belafonte's sonic shout-out that occasionally serenades home town stadium attendees.

The audio blast is used to generate fan excitement for the home town team.

Among my late mother's Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Dick Gregory, Aretha, and Sinatra records is this two-disc Harry Belafonte gem recorded at Carnegie Hall, New York City on April 19 and 20, 1959. RCA released the double album in 1959.

Here's 14 seconds of Mr. Belafonte's "Day-O" anthem from the evening's performance. 

That night Harry sang with a single guitar accompanied by bongos. He also festively crooned along with a 47-piece symphony orchestra.

Always the activist and philanthropist, Harry Belafonte donated $58,000 from one night of this two-night gig to the Wiltwyck School. Wiltwyck School worked with boys experiencing emotional disabilities. Harry Belafonte, R.I.P. (1927 -2023).

Harry Belafonte at Carnegie Hall

The decade you were born in usually defines your musical affinities. Sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties... if you were in high school in one of those decades, your favorite music probably comes from that era.

As I write in my book Powerhouse Radio: Rough Roads, Radiance, and Rebirth "My love of radio's pulsating magnetic sound track in the 1960s was a strong attraction as I entered my preteen years. Sadly, middle-of-the-road crooners Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald were not my personal soundtrack.

"These were the singers my mother listened to on the 'standards' music station WNEW AM in New York City. 'Standards' were calm, pre-rock-era vocals. My appreciation for the Cole–Fitzgerald song era would blossom later with maturity."

So here's a well honored toast to maturity, and a "Day-O" salute to Harry Belafonte, the activist, philanthropist, actor, and music man who left his lyrical mark on popular culture.

Watch and listen to Harry in this 64 second video talking about his 2011 book Harry Belafonte My Song: A Memoir? I posted the video in 2011 as part of my review of his book for my Black History website.

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Harry Belafonte's Carnegie Hall Activism
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