Tim Burton’s Beetle Juice A cult classic and Halloween staple. But the creepy movie “King of the Calypso” would be nothing without the lyrics by Harry Belafonte. Before his untimely death, what else would the Maitlands have been dancing to besides “Sweetheart from Venezuela”? What song would Beetlejuice play while Deetz and his company dance and sing besides “Banana Boat (Day-O)”? More importantly, which song better describes Lydia’s victory over Beetlejuice itself and overcoming all of her trials than Belafonte’s “Jump in the Line”? Only Belafonte’s music can fill these scenes.
Now, fans can only hear Belafonte’s echoes of “Day-O!” Have to listen to think about Beetle Juice. They’re synonymous with each other, and Belafonte can’t help but feel flattered.
Harry Belafonte loved it when David Geffen asked him to use his lyrics in ‘Beetlejuice’.
Belafonte received a call from David Geffen in 1986 or early 1987. According to hay-stalker, Geffen made “an unusual request” on behalf of his production studio, the Geffen Film Company. “Could he use Belafonte’s music in a dark comedy about two ghosts who hire a ‘freelance bio-exorcist’ to rid their home of unbearable art snobs?” Belafonte couldn’t completely wrap his mind around the film’s plot, but he was “introverted” and “flattering.”
“I’ve never made a request like this before,” Belafonte told Pitchfork. “We talked briefly. I liked the idea of Beetle Juice. I liked him. And I agreed to do it. Pitchfork itself could not reach Geffen, but it did reach out through a representative to say it remembered such a phone call.
“What was particularly appealing was that he wanted to use my voice,” Belafonte says. Burton and Geffen could use one of several covers of Belafonte’s 1956 hit “Banana Boat (Day-O)”. However, they wanted the original version of Belafonte instead.
“What Belafonte didn’t know was that he had flagged off one of cinema’s most memorable and catchy quirky musical numbers to incorporate an already existing pop song,” Pitchfork wrote.
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Beetlejuice’s original dinner party song The Ink Spots was the 1939 hit ‘If I Didn’t Care’
Beetle JuiceMichael McDowell’s original screenplay was deeper than what audiences have come to know. In the original dinner party scene, a guest spills a glass of wine on an ornate floral rug. Vines came out of the rug and wrapped around all the guests.
Larry Wilson, who wrote the original story with McDowell, said it was a great idea, but it needed something else. The person who added the scene-along to the scene was screenwriter Warren Skaren, who rewrote Beetle Juicescript later. He wanted The Ink Spot’s 1939 hit “If I Didn’t Care” for the dinner party scene. Skaren also suggested “When a Man Loves a Woman” for the final scene of the film.
According to Jeffrey Jones (Charles Deetz), it was Catherine O’Hara (Delia Deetz) who suggested Calypso would “bring more energy to the scene.” That’s when Jones named some of the calypso tunes he knew, including Belafonte’s “Banana Boat (Day-O)”. Burton liked the sound of Belafonte singing, so Geffen called Belafonte for permission, and they went and shot the scene. The rest is written in the dead history.
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The history of ‘Bana Boat (Din-O)’ goes back a century
The origins of “Banana Boat (Day-O)” date back almost a century. According to historians, the line of the song “Daylight Come, and I Want to Go Home” comes from an old line that Jamaican banana workers sang while working through the night in the early 1900s.
Only Belafonte’s vocals made it to the top and he was dubbed the “King of the Calypso”. Later the song would get cropped here and there. Belafonte performed this as well. The Muppets Show in 1978. Beetlejuice didn’t bring the song back from the dead until the mid-1980s.
Belafonte may not have recorded his hits with ghosts in mind, but that’s all fans can think of when they listen to his music now. Having some of your songs in a cult classic couldn’t hurt Belafonte’s royalty check either. Do you think there is any guideline written in this Handbook for the Recently Deceased That you have to listen to Harry Belafonte in the afterlife?