It was 58 yrs ago today…
On March 24, 1956, the legendary Harry Belafonte crowned Billboard’s first weekly albums chart – then billed Best Selling Pop Albums in Billboard magazine’s pages; now known as the Billboard 200 in print and online – with his smash set “Belafonte.”
Fifty-eight years later, the Billboard 200 remains the chart of record for America’s best-selling albums (according to Nielsen SoundScan data) each week.
1956 was a busy year for the King of Calypso, who was already a Tony Award winner for his work in the 1953 musical revue “John Murray Anderson’s Almanac.” After topping the albums chart with “Belafonte,” he notched a second No. 1 with “Calypso.”
Fueled by its hit single “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” “Belafonte” spent a staggering 31 weeks at No. 1. It’s tied with the soundtrack to “South Pacific” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” for the third-longest run on top in the chart’s history. The soundtrack to “West Side Story” is the all-time champ, with 54 weeks at the summit. Michael Jackson’s career-defining “Thriller” is second with 37…
Belafonte, now 87, told BET in 2011 that he appreciates the continued success of the iconic “Day-O.” “I’m just glad to see that the younger generations have picked it up and are carrying the song forward in their own way, just like I picked it up in my time.
What’s on your mind tonite…?