‘Day O’ composer Irving Wright dies at 95

US composer, Irving Burgie, who helped popularise Caribbean music with songs such as Day-O, Island in the Sun, Jamaica Farewell and Mary’s Boy Child, is dead.

Irving Burgie at his home in Queens in 2017. Burgie, who rewrote the lyrics to the traditional Jamaican song “Day-O,” died on Friday, Nov. 29, at the age of 95.

Burgie, who was 95, also composed the national anthem of Barbados.

However, he was best known for helping singer Harry Belafonte bring calypso music to the mainstream with Day-O.

Burgie went on to write eight of the 11 songs on Harry Belafonte’s 1956 album Calypso, which was the first album in the US to sell more than a million copies.

The well-known composer, whose songs sold more than 100 million records worldwide, died on Friday (Nov. 29) as a result of complications from heart failure.

During his career, he also worked with artists including Jimmy Buffett, Chuck Berry and Sam Cooke.

— CMC