Why Bobby Darin?
No, seriously, why Bobby Darin?
How About A Quick Run Down on the Hits?
Where can I get these songs and/or posted Rarities?
Do You Take Requests?
How Often Will There Be a BD Track Posted on the BD Underground? And How Will I Know?
What Does “Lossless” Mean?
So why don’t I already know Bobby Darin was a “musical genius” as you say?
Didn’t He Die Really Young?
Did Bobby Do Other Things?
For years, fans old and new who know the depth and quality of BD’s musical output have been frustrated that the REAL Bobby Darin – the musical genius – the singer, songwriter, producer, showman and indie music distributor who could literally nail every genre he took on – even when inventing his own – wasn’t being represented the way he deserves or getting his proper due as a musical and creative force.
We’re here to change that.
Because his body of work is as relevant today as it was the 40+ years ago it was made. Sure, terms have changed, relationships between men and women have changed, but the music all still works.
But Bobby just “got it”. He was beyond cool. There’s something for everyone, and we don’t want you to miss it. There are grooves, beats, in the Darin catalogue that are just ripe for rebirth.. you may hear something here and say (what we hear all the time) “This is Bobby Darin??”
BD had over 20 US Top 40 Billboard Hits from “Splish Splash” (Pop #3, R&B #1, 1958) to “If I Were a Carpenter” (#10, 1966), including:
“Early in the Morning” (#24, 1958)
“Dream Lover” (#2, 1959)
“Mack the Knife” (#1, 1959)
“Beyond the Sea” (#6, 1960)
“Clementine” (#21, 1960)
“Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey?” (#19, 1960)
“Artificial Flowers” (#20, 1960)
“Lazy River” (#14, 1961)
“You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” (#5, 1961)
“What’d I Say (Part I)” (#24, 1962)
“If a Man Answers” (#32, 1962)
“Things” (#3, 1962)
“You’re The Reason I’m Living” (#3)
“18 Yellow Roses” (#10, 1963)
“Lovin’ You” (#32, 1966)
But what was “Bubbling Under” at the time is where the amazing “non-staples” hung out…
And he produced and/or wrote hits for others. We’ll post those too!
Check out the complete Discography or find it right under the song post!
(Please note some of these recordings posted have not been released commercially but are making their world premiere here..)
But if the track was ever released in any form, we will point you to where to buy it from the legal owner (and/or current licensors)!
Want to hear Bobby in any genre he covered? Looking for a Rarity? Song he Wrote for Others? Alternate Take of a Darin Classic? Demo?
If it exists in any form, We’ll Post it!
Our Expert Team of Darinoligists are All Over It!
Once a week!
Sign up HERE to get the Update on When a New BD Track is Posted!
To us, CD-quality or better from an original lossless source, such as a master/session tape. 16bit/44.1kHz is the minimum preferred listening experience for Bobby. Anything less (iTunes purchases, Amazon MP3s for example) are generally called “lossy” and are smaller file sizes because they do not have the audio quality of a CD.
It is important to us to stress this difference – as Bobby always sounds the way he should in well-mastered lossless format. “Lossy” formats often sound “tinny”/”swirly” and unnatural. However, these files were easier to trade among friends when digital was introduced, and hence are “floating around”.
If a track we post is “up-sampled” from a “lossy” source to FLAC (lossless) or has only been officially released in “lossy” format, we will make a note.
Hi-Resolution (24bit/44.1kHz minimum) is also lossless (and if an audiophile, a well-mastered HD version is preferred), though the files (FLAC, WAV, etc.) tend to be larger than the compressed “lossy” format.
“24bit” (HD) is key as 16bit (CD) is the equivalent of watching a film at 16 frames per second as opposed to watching a film at 24 frames per second (HD). For your ears, just as it is for your eyes with moving pictures, it’s a more natural, “smoother” ride.
And yes, all vinyl releases are “lossless” if from mastered from an original lossless format (tape reels, e.g.) due to its analogue format. So if you get your hands on an audiophile BD LP (MFSL’s “Love Swings” for example) or a great-sounding original LP, you may be listening in lossless format and technically “limitless” audio, despite the original pressings being 50+ years old!
Sadly, as of now, Bobby Darin is one of the only major artists (and vocalists) with NO Hi-Rez releases. Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis, Nat King Cole, etc. are all currently well-represented in HD. A glaring omission when visiting any hi-resolution site such as ProStudio Masters, HDTracks, and PonoMusic!
The man was so genre-bending and funkin’ cool, the radio and labels at the time never quite knew what to do with him. So let’s try to straighten all this out..
THE LONG ANSWER:
First, Bobby didn’t just “become a teen idol”. Unlike other aspiring pop artists, he wasn’t gifted with original tunes by greats songwriters like Leiber and Stoller or Pomus and Shuman. So he wrote his own hits out of necessity.
He wrote “Splish Splash”, “Dream Lover”, and turned them into chart-toppers. Back then, it didn’t matter to audiences who wrote what – as long as the songs worked. So Bobby wrote his own.
Those hits are still staples on any radio show and in commercial use to this day. You can find those classic tracks on countless “best-ofs” and compilations over the past 50 years.
Bobby grew up with, and loved, R&B. In terms of music and personal relationships, Bobby was color-blind. And so was the first audience to really send him on his way to stardom.
BD was fully embraced at The Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY – in fact, his first hit, “Splish Splash”, went straight to #1 on the R&B charts.
This slight Italian kid from The Bronx regularly killed it at The Apollo with pure swagger, voice and talent. And he knew how to connect with an audience.
Civil rights became a lifelong cause (there are books and resources on that – we’ll stick to the music and post those notes when uploading relevant songs).
But like many artists, when you have hits in one genre – in Bobby’s case, late 50’s pop rock – it was difficult, if not impossible, to “break out” and prove “you’re not just that guy”. Acknowledging “Walden Robert Cassoto” wouldn’t fit on a marquee, “Bobby Darin” teen-star-name, became permanent. But “Bobby Darin” was simply tougher to take seriously when making music that meant more to him – and he wanted his audiences to understand he was still the same man – he’d just grown socially and musically.
Once his well-earned star status was achieved, he decided he was creatively finished with that. He wanted to do more.
So Bobby broke the mold. And SUCCEEDED.
Bobby did the unthinkable – achieved “overnight” star status as a teen idol – dropped it – and went on to prove he could sing and arrange standards and entertain adult audiences, too (in comes the image of “the tux” and the packed houses in Vegas).
And he didn’t just sing ’em and entertain the audience – he killed ’em. Although dismissive, Sinatra didn’t see this coming. The Beatles were one thing – but Bobby was on “his turf”. Within a year, Sinatra’s own Billy May was arranging for Bobby.
BOBBY SUCCEEDED BEYOND ANYONE’S EXPECTATIONS.
He achieved massive success with his now-definitive versions of “Mack the Knife”, “Beyond the Sea”, “Clementine”, and others – so now he was a sensation in two genres – and had the attention of not just the tweens, but adults too.
And all of this this happened within a span of about one-two years.
But that wasn’t enough… it was time for folk and country for him and much, much more. And the labels and radio, well… who could keep up?
For the most part, they didn’t. Their loss is now your gain.
THE SHORT(er) ANSWER:
Unlike Elvis (who stuck with RCA for his entire post-Sun Records career), Bobby changed labels.
Constantly pleasing and frustrating his label execs at the time, he felt it was best to stay on the move with the people who “got” what he was doing. And that wasn’t always the same label.
So in short, there was, and is, NO ONE LABEL that would benefit by promoting Bobby Darin en total. And that remains true to this day.
That’s basically it.
Rhino did the best job of collecting Bobby’s entire body of work (must have been a licensing nightmare at the time) for the 1995 4-CD box set, As Long As I’m Singin’, but that doesn’t represent Bobby, “the brand”.
There’s some upkeep and branding to do with any star like Darin, and it hasn’t been done in his case.
RCA can run a huge campaign on Elvis and sell the shit out of The King – and it’s all to the benefit of RCA and Elvis Presley Enterprises. That’s great for them – we friggin’ love Elvis. But that’s not how Bobby rolled…
He started with a few singles at Decca.
He made his first hits at ATCO (a young experimental jazz off-shoot of Atlantic Records).
Then when allowed to do full-on folk country, signed with Capitol while still delivering “that Mack the Knife stuff” every other album for them (And it’s all great stuff).
But a lot of incredible albums and singles went completely unnoticed at the time since it didn’t fit “the swinger” image.
But Capitol allowed him to make those folk/country albums with a pre-Byrds Roger McGuinn to get those “swinging albums”, out of him, too.
By the end of his tenure at Capitol, Bobby was discovering, and working with, songwriting talent such as Randy Newman. This was years before it was “hip” for The Animals and others to record this talented L.A.-born unknown. Bobby co-wrote with Randy in 1964.
Bobby had an ear for talent – he signed protegee Rudy Clark (“It’s in The His Kiss (Shoop Shoop Song), “I Got My Mind Set On You)” for his own publishing company.
Then Bobby went back to Atlantic and cut records written by Tim Hardin, John Sebastian, while still writing and recording his own cuts on the same LPs. He could have been a traditional “singer/songwriter” had he been more a decade later. He was a multi-instrumentalist who knew how to move on stage with just a mike – but in private he was writing on guitar and piano. And on many of the records. He was just that talented.
But with the exception of the his latter-day Top Ten Hit “If I Were a Carpenter”, radio simply didn’t know what to do with this stuff.
And then when labels didn’t understand why he wanted to go further and pump out songs via funky organ or streamlined “man and guitar” about how he viewed the world, his perceived inherent racism in the U.S. , the inequality, he WROTE, PRODUCED, SANG, AND PRESSED THE DAMN RECORDS HIMSELF. He named his label, Direction.
And though his health was failing, he signed with Motown Records and put out his final, and some of his strongest, vocal performances.
He had bouts of rheumatic fever when he was a child, resulting in a scarred, weakened heart, and he knew his time here was limited. So he made the most of it.
He had an oxygen tank at the ready behind-the-scenes at most, if not all, performances. He didn’t seem to want the public to know.
It’s our opinion that knowing he had limited time was a major driving factor in his pursuit of creativity and expression through music.
Most of us, if faced with such a guaranteed oncoming outcome, may crawl into a ball and never want to leave the bed.
Not Bobby. It drove him.
We can only think of Freddie Mercury as someone else who was handed “a death sentence” and said “Fuck it” – and gave it their all to their last breathe. There were others, but Bobby was, and remains, a true inspiration.
Bobby Darin, born Walden Robert Cassoto, passed away at 37 years old.
He was an Oscar-nominated actor, variety show staple, political activist, loving father, husband of America’s Sweetheart, Sandra Dee, loved cars – and a lot more. Check the links for more about his life.
We highly encourage you to explore and discover Bobby, the talented actor, personality, and hilariously honest talk show guest! A multi-talented guy is an understatement…
Buddy Holly covered Bobby’s songwriting. But Bobby never covered Buddy.
Elvis covered Bobby’s songwriting. But Bobby never covered Elvis.