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Bobby Darin

There's been considerable discussion about whether Bobby Darin should be classified as a rock & roll singer, a Vegas hipster cat, an interpreter of popular standards, or even a folk-rocker. He was all of these and none of these. Throughout his career he made a point of not becoming committed to any one style at the exclusion of others; at the height of his nightclub fame he incorporated a folk set into his act. When it appeared he could have gone on indefinitely as a sort of junior version of Frank Sinatra, he would periodically record pop/rock and folk-rock singles whose principal appeal lay outside of the adult pop market. At one point he started calling himself Bob Darin and recorded songs with vague anti-establishment overtones that could be said to be biting the largely bourgeois hands that fed his highest-paying gigs. It may be most accurate to say that Darin was, above all, a singer who wanted to do a lot of things, rather than make his mark as a particular stylist. That may have cost him some points as far as making it to the very top of certain genres, but also makes his work more versatile than almost any other vocalist of his era.

When Darin had his first hits in the late '50s, he was a teen idol of sorts, albeit a teen idol with much more talent and mature command than the typical singer in that style. The novelty-tinged "Splish Splash" was his breakthrough smash, followed by "Queen of the Hop" and the ballad "Dream Lover." There was a slight R&B feel to Bobby's delivery that may well have influenced R&B-pop/rock singers such as Dion, though it would be an exaggeration to call Darin a blue-eyed soul man. In late 1959, he found a new direction when the swinging "Mack the Knife," a tune from Brecht-Weill's Threepenny Opera musical, made number one. The song came from an album of pop standards, heralding his move toward light big band jazz, which was consolidated by the Top Ten success of "Beyond the Sea" in 1960.

In the early '60s, Darin had mostly abandoned rock for the adult pop market, becoming a huge success on the Vegas-nightclub circuit, and moving into the all-around entertainer mode with starring roles in movies (including one as a non-singing jazz musician in John Cassavetes' Too Young Blues). He also continued to score regular hits with the likes of "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby," "Things," and "Lazy River." To keep people guessing, there was also a hit cover of "What'd I Say" and some country tunes (one of which, "You're the Reason I'm Living," made it to number three on the pop charts). Around 1963, he put a folk section into his nightclub act that employed guitarist Roger McGuinn, then a couple of years away from fame as the leader of the Byrds.

Darin didn't make the expected retreat into Rat Pack land when his records stopped making the upper reaches of the charts in the mid-'60s. In 1965, there was a rather nice self-penned jangly folk-rocker, "When I Get Home," that become a British hit for the Searchers. Another 1965 flop, "We Didn't Ask to Be Brought Here," was an unexpected antiwar tune. When he made his return to the Top Ten in late 1966, it was with a cover of a gentle Tim Hardin folk-rock song, "If I Were a Carpenter." His final Top 40 hit the following year, "Lovin' You," opted for material by another major folk-rock composer, John Sebastian.

Darin may indeed have been far hipper and more politically aware than the average nightclub act, covering tunes by Dylan and the Rolling Stones, participating in a 1965 civil rights march to Alabama, and penning some Dylan-influenced songs of his own in the late '60s. It doesn't seem accurate to say that this was the true Bobby Darin, shedding his show-biz skin for something that came to him more naturally; in 1967, the same year he covered Jagger-Richards' "Back Street Girl," he also recorded material for an album entitled Bobby Darin Sings Doctor Dolittle. By the early '70s he was working Vegas and similar joints again, exchanging his blue jeans for a tuxedo, and hosting a TV variety series. In a much odder turn of events, he was now recording for Motown, though these efforts met little success.

Afflicted with a rheumatic heart, Darin was always aware that his time might be limited, and he died near the end of 1973 during open-heart surgery. He left behind a considerable quantity (and diversity) of recorded work, and underwent a critical reevaluation of sorts, especially among rock critics, which might have aided his election to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. A 1996 four-CD box set, divided into thematic discs, attempted to put his wide-ranging efforts into perspective. In 2004, actor Kevin Spacey starred as Bobby Darin in the feature film biography Beyond the Sea. Spacey also directed the film and sang Darin's songs for the film, which were released as the film's soundtrack. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Great
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Mack the knife
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Beyond the sea, Finding Nemo anyone?
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Love this music!
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nanco82
Bobby was on the top of my list for his style....a real performer and was so missed when he left us. His life was so short and heaven is better off with him for his music....
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Bobby Darin sang "dream lover" at my senior prom.....no, no he didn't.
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I want my own dream lover
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Sike doesnt work ��
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F6
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possibleby the love of your life.however if you dont post this you will die in two days.now you have started reading so dont stop. This is so scary put this on five songs.when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is so scary it actually works.
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Mac Tonight! lol
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Great song. I love Bobby. this is his best version of mack the knife.
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i like women
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My mom would always clean the house with Bobby D or Bobby V thanks for just being my mom!! I miss you more then you know.
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Good ole Darin. I mean, who doesn't like mack the knife?
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annabellasul l y
He was great.

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LIKE !!!!!!!!!!!
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allenke6900
A forgotten recording artist...I love Bobby Darin.. Thanks to internet radio I can listen to one of my favorites
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dragonlady60 8 8
My fave song by bobby...and beyond the sea!""
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Love love love this artist!!! A legend :-)
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dream lover mack the knife some where along the sea bobby needs the recognision he deserves
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juju2luv
Finding Nemo! !!!!
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I love all types of music from country to rocking roll to jaz
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soccherfor
I can't listen to this channel without tears at some point. Makes be think of my parents and my husbands parents and how they would listen yo theses tunes in their era. Theses songs... Love Love Love them all.
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I love this music!!! Grew up in musical family and my father played songs from 30s & 40s. Would love to meet a man who loves these artists; frank, Tony b., Ella, mathis, Darin, etc,
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This dude is my all time favorite male vocalist.... . I t started with Mack the Knife.
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fgoines39
M
Montovoni
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She's my dream lover :-*
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To me He was one of the RAT PACK!!
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No one ever did it better. Nor had consistently better arrangements .
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I love dis song
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He left us way to soon........ H e is missed.
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I love his music
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His song make me think of my loved ones times at the beach and of course Bioshock 1,2,and infinte
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dragonlady60 8 8
Bobby and frank and sammy snd nat....ect.. . . f a v e s
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dragonlady60 8 8
Sing it bobby....
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dragonlady60 8 8
Bobby is grt!!!
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Bobby was dynamite...O n e of the greatest entertainers ever!!! RIP my man.
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promarlin
You cant top his many voices! different sounds! for different songs. May he rest in peace.
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louraone33
Love
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love this song!! Always puts me in a good mood. This is the first time I heard this version. LOVE IT!!
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Beyond the Sea. My favorite song since I was 8 years old. Never heard this live version before. Blown away! :-)
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carbonexpres s 6
Finding nemo!!
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In the Mood, best dance song
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Blue Moon, best big band song
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She was so good....I be leave that everyone liked Her.
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Dean had it all!
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Great voice and song
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love is guys voice!!!
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Dream lover where are you..
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