Bobby Darin tribute for his birthday today

Today is the birthday of my favorite singer of all time.

If he lived, Bobby Darin would have turned 87, but a rheumatic heart condition caused a premature death at age 37.

That was exactly 50 years ago this year on Dec. 20, 1973.

I got hooked by his singing and cool style when I was only 12 years old and heard “Mack the Knife,” the hip song from the old Three Penny Opera drama about a knife-wielding British anti-hero. “Look out old Mackie is back!” stirs my musical sensibilities every time I hear the phrase.

He wrote “Splish Splash” on a dare by the mother of a New York disc jockey, Murray the K. He followed that up with “Dream Lover” and then performed one of the greatest love songs I believe has ever been recorded: “Beyond the Sea,” based on the classical composition Le Mer.  

He starred in several movies, getting an Academy Award nomination for portraying a soldier suffering from PTSD during World War II when seeing comrades killed in action in the movie Captain Neumann MD.” He won a Golden Globe award for his first movie, “Come September,” in which he met his first wife, Sandra Dee.

Artificial Flowers” was recorded in 1960 along with the fun-loving version of “Clementine.” By 1962, he showed his versatility by performing Country and Western songs such as “Things,” “You’re the Reason I’m Living,” “18 Yellow Roses,” and “Jailer Bring Me Water.”

One of his last big hits was from a song written by Tim Hardin, a folks and blues singer, “If I Were a Carpenter.” Bobby kind of paid Tim back a few years later when he wrote one of Hardin’s biggest hits called “Simple Song of Freedom,” a great protest song.

Bobby had become politically involved with the Democratic Party in 1968. Darin traveled with Robert F Kennedy and worked on the politician’s presidential campaign. He was with Kennedy the day he traveled to Los Angeles on June 4, 1968, for the California primary, and was at the Ambassador Hotel later that night when Kennedy was assassinated. 

Bobby Darin (born Walden Robert Cassotto)

I see a picture of him every time I walk into my kitchen. I have a copy of one of his album covers called “this is Darin.” He’s in a dark suit with a bow tie in his hand performing his heart out. In 1990, Darin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with singer and close friend Paul Anka announcing the honor.

In 1999, Darin was voted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Songwriter Alan O’Day alluded to Darin and his recording of “Mack the Knife” in the song “Rock and Roll Heaven” (made a hit by the Righteous Brothers), a tribute to dead musicians, which O’Day wrote shortly after Darin’s death.

During the last few years of his life, he was often administered oxygen during and after his performances on stage and screen.

In 1973, after failing to take antibiotics to protect his heart before a dental visit, Darin developed sepsis, an overwhelming systemic infection, which further weakened his body and affected one of his heart valves. On December 11, he checked himself into a Los Angeles hospital for another round of open-heart surgery to repair the two artificial heart valves he had received in January 1971.

Shortly after the surgery ended in the early morning hours of December 20, 1973, Darin died in the recovery room without regaining consciousness. He was 37 years old.

Happy heavenly birthday Bobby!

(Click here for a playlist of some of Bobby’s greatest hits)

15 comments on “Bobby Darin tribute for his birthday today

  1. Amazing how music and musicians help to define us !

    Liked by 1 person

    • contoveros says:

      Yes, we all came name a few. My favorite song of all-time is “Stand By Me!” By Ben E King!


      • My father had a Luncheonette when I was in 3rd grade. The Juke Box hosted so much Americana, I got to keep a lot of the 45s that got swapped out. I’ll have to take a look through them. Songs like “This Magic Moment” Jay and the Americans … ( Stand by me is a classic!)


        • contoveros says:

          Cara Mia Mine by Jay Black and the Americans is my favorite. It was a hit in 1965 but he would later appear on PBS to sing it.
          He would have the longest hold on one note that anyone ever heard and to top it off, he’d look at his watch to see how long he was singing it!

          Liked by 2 people

          • cabrogal says:

            he’d look at his watch to see how long he was singing it!

            Must have been paid by the hour.

            Do you reckon he could beat Donna?

            Liked by 1 person

            • contoveros says:

              Don’t know but it would be well-worth watching!

              Liked by 1 person

              • cabrogal says:

                Just checked them out. I reckon his voice is even stronger in 2001 than it was in 1965.

                The original is a weird one. A bit of pop, a bit of opera, a bit of barbershop quartet. When he first hit the high notes “’til the end of time” I thought it was a mistake, but he repeats it note perfect every time. Maybe the weirdest part of the clip is the cut to the dancers at 1:56. They sure don’t make ’em like that anymore.

                Liked by 1 person

  2. cabrogal says:

    Here’s Wendy Orlean Williams’s tribute to Bobby.


  3. I was trying to figure out who would be my version of Bobby Darin, but I can’t find an artist that I loved so much that had both great hit songs AND an Academy Award nomination that I know their birthday, miss their passing etc. Of course, there is Prince, who is one of my favs., Queen, George Michael, Aretha Franklin, –oh, oh, Jennifer Hudson and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Wow… now I’m down the rabbit hole of figuring this out.

    Thanks for the lovely post. Music, music, music, is the universal language for sure…

    Liked by 1 person

    • contoveros says:

      I’d vote for both Aretha Franklin and Lin-Manuel Miranda from your list. I’m an old head and relate to the old style of music and something they once called “Doo Wop.”

      Bobby Darin’s music will live forever, as long as there is a baby someone wants to play the old standard of “Splish Splash” for their growing pleasure.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Just a note: Neither Lin-Manuel or Aretha Franklin have an Oscar nomination for acting. Of course, Lin-Manuel was nominated for an Oscar for music, but lost out last year — but when he does win, he will be an EGOT winner. Now, Jennifer Hudson does have an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) and her Oscar was for Best Supporting Actress in Dream girls. Probably the closest to Bobby Darren, technically when it comes to transcendent voice and awards… but I get you. I do know a lot more about Aretha Franklin and Lin-Manuel Miranda for sure. Bobby Darin’s music lives on… the greats never go out of style!

        Liked by 1 person

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