Day-O! Songs about Bananas

Man, do I love bananas. I have to confess, I am an extremely picky eater and even if I eat a lot of stuff when I am with other people in a restaurant or someone cooked for me, my own kitchen is limited to very few things that I really like. However, I always like a banana, it’s the only fruit that comes close to baked goods (I remember those childhood-disappointments when I wanted a cookie and got handed an apple…), they serve as a comical device since the dawn of time and they are full of good stuff that makes you happy and healthy!

So, to honor this beautiful fruit, I collected a number of awesome banana-related songs and some fun facts.

Harry Belafonte – Banana Boat Song (Day-O)

Of course this tops the list. Not only is Harry Belafonte an amazing human being, this song is also one of the first super-catchy songs I learned and loved at school

Now, this is the most superior version of this song ever created. The comical timing in this sketch is absolutely mind-blowing, I could write comedy for the next 40 years and would not be able to produce anything as perfect as this.

Oliver Onions – Banana Joe

I don’t know whether Bud Spencer and Terrence Hill were big in English-speaking countries but they were huge in Germany. I must have watched all thousand buddy-movies with these two and I could not tell you what any of them was about. I only know that Bud Spencer was always mildly annoyed by the smug Terrence Hill and that Bud Spencer at one point hit a guy on the head and pushed two guy’s heads together (with awesome sound-effects).

This movie was actually without Terrence Hill but I can assure you that there will be some head-banging with awesome sound-effects. By the way, Spencer himself (as a kid I always wanted to marry him because apparently the blue-eyed, blonde and handsome Terrence Hill wasn’t my cup of tea), was an unsuccessful politician, a successful inventor, he studied law and he used to swim professionally as a youngster and does a whole lot for children’s charity. Pretty good for someone who played a guy called “Banana Joe”, right?

The Dickies – Banana Splits

Little Fun-Fact: Bananas don’t waste faster in the fridge, that’s a weird urban myth because their peel darkens faster but the sweet sweet banana inside stays as jolly as ever. Also: Never place bananas next to other fruits and vegetables, they emit an enzyme (or something) that makes the other stuff rot faster.

Another Fun-Fact: Bananas don’t actually work as microphones.

Raffi Greber – Banana Phone

Raffi is an American popstar loved by Millions – Millions of babies, that is, which means that Millions of parents hate his oh so catchy songs that stay in their heads forever, so that they wake up in the middle of the night, screaming “It’s no baloney, it ain’t a phony, my cellular, bananular phone!”

However, I really love that song, a great feat of the banana is its wide range of comical uses. Not only can you slip on the peel (or better, let someone else slip on it), you can use it as a phone (even as a mobile phone!), a gun, a funny smile, a microphone (but not a real one as we’ve already established)…the possibilities are endless. It’s also phallic, so it can entertain even raunchy pub-rounds!

The Boomtown Rats – Banana Republic

You gotta love the Boomtown Rats, no one can write songs that seem like fun little pop-numbers, only to crush you down with their bitter lyrics. Playing the Boomtown Rats at any party ensures immediate awkwardness for everyone to share.

Radiohead – Banana Co

There are actually a couple of legends surrounding banana trees. Because you can use pretty much everything of the tree and fruits for something, they are pretty ingrained in Asian cultures. There is a spirit in Thailand that lives in a banana tree and shows itself as a beautiful woman (like pretty much all Asian ghosts, apparently). You should never cut down a tree that is inhabited by Nang Tani, instead you should tie a piece of cloth around the tree and offer some incense (bitches love incense). She also is a mainly benevolent ghost but is said to harm men that have wronged women by uploading embarrassing photos of them on Facebook.

Junior Boys – Banana Ripple

Another banana spirit is Pontianak, a Malaysian/Indonesian ghost that is also a vampire. Apparently, it’s the ghost of a woman who died while pregnant, so we can safely assume that she is not as chilled out as Nang Tani. However, Pontianak shows itself usually as a pale beautiful woman with long hair (never heard that one before) and preys on men. Seriously, dudes, I am so sorry that you get haunted like crazy in Asian mythology. Funnily enough, the Pontianak announces itself with baby cries, so maybe the ghost is itself a deeply manly fear (a pregnant vampire? Well, she sure would make a good reality-show contestant, ammiright?). However, instead of taking all your gold and dignity she sucks out your eyes, cuts your stomach open with her long fingernails and then devours your organs. And here is the best part: the Pontianak finds her victims by smelling freshly washed clothes that have been hung out to dry…it’s this kind of detail in such myths that really makes the story.

This is not the original video, mind, this is Alejandro Jodorowsky aka the reason why so many people think that everyone was on drugs during the 70s.

The Electric Prunes – The Great Banana Hoax

Gotta love that almost all 60s rock bands were dressed like they escaped from a Russian fairy tale. Little Prune-Fun-Fact: This band had roughly (and for once, I am not exaggerating) 20 members throughout the years including – hold on to your seats – Kenny Loggins. True story.

Roots Manuva – Banana Skank

How about some pretty awesome British Hip Hop about Bananas? Here you go.

The Aggrolites – Banana

Too funny, as I am writing this, Berlin is plastered with Aggrolites-posters because they play or played here. Not to be mean here, but music like this always feels like it goes on forever. With the obligatory exceptions, Reggae always feels like a never-ending drum circle with someone just rambling along, telling you how their day was. But at least the people with the oversized plastic bananas enjoy it.

Parry Gripp – I am a banana

If you like “that weird part of youtube”, you probably know Parry Gripp, who does weird stuff about viral videos (there is something about a monkey that is scarily entertaining) and other things people who suffer insomnia, gripping existential fears and caffeine overdose like.

Ok, that was all fun, there is one more song up my sleeve (it’s an easy guess but feels necessary for this list)

Gwen Stefani – Hollaback

It’s not in the title but they spell out that this shit is bananas. I actually don’t think that it is that bananas but in the world of pop the rules are different to what is weird and what is not, to what is unique and what is not, to what is of a banana-like quality and what is not. Also: I am always disappointed at the lack of banana-costumes in this skit. If I were Gwen Stefani I would be ashamed because obviously, without any bananas on the stage, there is no shit on that stage that is bananas.

And because I am a responsible journalist, I will not ignore the dangers of bananas, because banana-related crimes are pretty  common in today’s society.

Ok, that was it, but before you leave, please click on this link because it will enrich your life in ways you never thought possible.


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