Belafonte did have hit singles, led by "Day-O" and "Jamaica Farewell," but after "Carnegie Hall" came out in 1959, there were very few singles released during the rest of his career and he became strictly an album seller.
Many people think that "Mark Twain & Other Folk Favorites," which came out in 1954, was his first work for RCA Victor, but he had been recording singles since 1952, none of which were ever on LPs, including the first version of "Matilda, Matilda," "Jerry," and "Shenandoah." He re-recorded all of these after he became famous with his 2nd LP, "Belafonte," which consisted of songs from his "Three for Tonight" stage show.
Some of the early singles were issued on a UK 10-inch LP called "The Versatile Mr. Belafonte." He never issued a 10-inch LP in the U.S.
On Jul 30, 2013, at 6:56 AM, Dave Burnham <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Belafonte not a singles producer? Unless my grey cells are getting greyer, I remember getting Belafonte 78s - Jamaica Farewell, Mama look at Bubu, (or whatever it was called), Day-O, Matilda and if I remember correctly, Man Smart, and others. I think HB had his share of singles.
> Sent from my iPhone
> On 2013-07-30, at 9:34 AM, Donald Clarke <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> There's no way to know now, but I would dispute that kids were buying e.g. Belafonte's big hit albums. 1956 was the year I was 16 and went to work in a record shop, and kids didn't have enough money for albums then. But grownups were buying albums, not singles, and that's increasingly where the money was for the record companies, long before popcrock pushed evertyhing else off the Billboard chart.
>> Donald Clarke
>> On Jul 30, 2013, at 8:44 AM, Michael Biel wrote:
>>> From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>> WOW! The Brits really get their license fee's worth with Channel 4 --
>> and this was a BBC Scotland production!
>> I started watching this thinking that it would be crap and that I would
>> find loads of factual errors, but on the whole it makes many good
>> points. It makes a good argument about the transition of the rock and
>> pop scene from being singles oriented to album oriented that I had not
>> fully considered despite the fact that I lived it and was a part of it.
>> Perhaps their excuse would be that they had discussed the 50's as being
>> when adults bought albums and kids bought singles, but I would go beyond
>> their narrow view of performers that teenagers would know of. Kids did
>> not buy Bob Dylan albums in 1962 or 63. They DID buy Elvis albums,
>> Kingston Trio, but not Dylan.
>> Although I was there in the folk scene, I had gotten my introduction to
>> Dylan in 63 when my British pen-pal asked me to send him Freewheeling
>> which had not been released there. The delay in releasing his first 2
>> albums in England is not noted despite crediting Dylan with part of the
>> thrust to albums with his first albums, especially Freewheeling, but
>> this was not noticed at the tie -- only later. They did have an aside
>> about the growth of the American Folk Music scene being an influence in
>> the album, but then jump back to Dylan. If you want to note album
>> artists that did not have hit singles, it started before Dylan. Harry
>> Belefonte was not a singles seller, but with "Mark Twain" and especially
>> "Calypso", his albums were very influential. I discovered recently when
>> doing my "First Family"/"My Son the folk Singer" research that Joan Baez
>> had THREE albums in the top 15 that month and that Peter Paul and Mary's
>> first album was the No 1 album that these two comedy albums bumped off.
>> Dylan's own albums were not making a wave yet -- PP&M MADE Dylan. Later
>> on the doc discusses the live album and credits Peter Frampton with
>> starting that phase of albums, they forgot "The Weavers At Carnegie
>> Hall" and then Belafonte's three GIGANTIC HIT Carnegie Hall and Greek
>> Theatre albums as being influential sellers for performers who still
>> were not singles sellers. Kids were buying these albums before they
>> bought Dylan's albums. Plus I would say that Belafonte's albums were
>> more "concept" than Dylan's early albums and that they were hits whereas
>> Dylan's weren't.
>> But it is a thought provoking doc.
>> Mike Biel [log in to unmask]