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Profile: Bobby Darin

By

Bobby Darin

Bobby Darin

source: us.imdb.com

Born:

Walden Robert Cassotto, May 14, 1936, New York, NY (The Bronx); d. December 20, 1973, Los Angeles, CA

Genres:

Rock and Roll, Teen Idol, Jazz Vocal, Pop Vocal, Folk-rock

Instruments:

Vocals

Contributions to music:

  • Scored huge hits in a variety of genres at a time when popular music was rigidly compartmentalized
  • The most musically talented by far of the early-Sixties teen idols
  • Arguably the most credible and successful musical artist of his time to gravitate towards acting
  • Helped advance the protest movement and folk-rock genre with his abrupt musical and political left turn in the mid-Sixties
  • As important in his own way to the development of Las Vegas entertainment as any member of the Rat Pack
  • One of the era's most gifted jazz vocalists and a fine arranger and interpreter of others' material

Early years:

A fatherless only child born into poverty and suffering from a rhuematic fever-induced heart defect that virtually ensured his early demise, Bobby Darin had no reason not to try and become rich and famous as fast as possible. And even so, the depth of his talent was noticable early on: by the age of 18, he played five instruments, gigged in the Catskills and tried his hand at theater. After a disastrous stint with Decca, Bobby signed with Atlantic, and after three flops, scored with "Early In The Morning" (released on Brunswick as the Rinky Dinks to avoid lawsuits) and a song he'd written called "Splish Splash."

Success:

That song, written on a bet with New York DJ Murray the K that he couldn't form a song around the words, turned Darin into a teen idol overnight. Yet Darin never strayed from pop, either, as evidenced by his hit recording of "Mack The Kinfe" (from Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera), recast in hipster swing. For the next few years, Darin would move easily between rock singles like "Queen Of The Hop" and swinging pop like "Beyond the Sea", an English-language version of Charles Trenet's "La Mer." He was the star of the New York, and, later, the Vegas nightclub scene, and like many teen idols, soon moved into acting.

Later years:

In the Sixties, Darin focused on his movie career as music changed. He also married America's sweetheart, actress Sandra Dee, whom he met on the set of his first starring role, Come September. By the mid-Sixties, however, Darin was becoming disillusioned with modern American life, a feeling which came to a head when he saw his friend Robert Kennedy assassinated in 1968. Shaken, Darin retreated, only to return as a protest singer; by the early Seventies, he was back on board with a TV variety show and more concerts. But his defect caught up with him, and Bobby Darin died from a heart infection on December 20, 1973.

Other facts:

  • Rumored to have chosen his stage surname from a Mandarin restaurant sign whose first three letters were burned out
  • Met and romanced Connie Francis for a time in the early Sixties
  • Signed a young Wayne Newton and gave him a song called "Danke Schoen," originally meant for Darin
  • Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1963's Captain Newman, M.D.
  • Once claimed "Splish Splash" took only 12 minutes to write
  • Discovered near the end of his life that his "sister" was actually his biological mother, and his "mother" actually his grandmother
  • Willed his body to medical science, specifically, the UCLA Medical Center

Awards/Honors:

  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1990)
  • GRAMMY Awards (1959)
  • GRAMMY Hall of Fame (1999)
  • Songwriters Hall of Fame (1999)

Recorded work:

#1 hits:
Pop:
  • "Mack The Knife" (1959)
R&B:
  • "Splish Splash" (1958)
Top 10 hits:
Pop:
  • "Splish Splash" (1958)
  • "Queen Of The Hop" (1958)
  • "Dream Lover" (1959)
  • "Beyond The Sea" (1960)
  • "You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby" (1961)
  • "Things" (1962)
  • "Eighteen Yellow Roses" (1963)
  • "You're The Reason I'm Living" (1963)
  • "If I Were A Carpenter" (1966)
R&B:
  • "Queen Of The Hop" (1958)
  • "Early In The Morning" (1958)
  • "Dream Lover" (1959)
  • "Mack The Knife" (1959)
Top 10 albums:
Pop:
  • This Is Darin (1960)
  • That's All (1960)
  • Darin At The Copa (1960)
Other popular recordings: "Mighty Mighty Man," "She's Tanfastic," "Moment Of Love," "Similau," "Lovin' You," "Plain Jane," "Artificial Flowers," "Beachcomber," "Child Of God," "Christmas Auld Lang Syne," "Clementine," "I'll Be There," "Somebody To Love," "Lazy River," "Nature Boy," "Baby Face," "If A Man Answers," "Irresistible You," "Multiplication," "What'd I Say (Part 1)," "Be Mad Little Girl," "Treat My Baby Good," "That's The Way Love Is," "Was There A Call For Me," "I Guess I'm Good For Nothing But The Blues," "Don't Dream Of Anybody But Me," "Guys And Dolls," "Down With Love," "Black Coffee," " Pete Kelly's Blues," "Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home," "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," "What A Diff'rence A Day Made," "Skylark," "Just Friends," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan," "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now," "The Things In This House," "Hello, Dolly!," "Mame," "The Girl That Stood Beside Me," "Darling Be Home Soon," "Lovin' You," "The Lady Came From Baltimore," "Long Line Rider," "Simple Song Of Freedom," "The Curtain Falls"
Covered by: Showaddywaddy, The Beautiful South, Robbie Williams, Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Will Young, Daniel Johnston, Tim Hardin, The Paris Sisters
Appears in the movies: "The Sad Sack" (1957), "Shadows" (1959), "Heller In Pink Tights" (1960), "Come September" (1961), "Too Late Blues" (1961), "State Fair" (1962), "Hell Is For Heroes" (1962), "If A Man Answers" (1962), "Pressure Point" (1962), "Captain Newman, M.D." (1963), "That Funny Feeling" (1965), "Gunfight In Abilene" (1967), "Stranger In The House" (1967), "The Happy Ending" (1969), "Happy Mother's Day, Love George" (1973)
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