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Bobby Darin


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This came up on another thread, because we were discussing our top 5 Plant solo songs, and someone listed "If I Were A Carpenter" (written by Tim Hardin). I replied that I preferred Darin's version and added this info about Darin:

I'm a BIG Darin fan. He's so underrated (in addition to singing he wrote over 100 songs-many were edgy and controversial; played drums, piano, guitar, harmonica & I think vibes or marimba; was nominated for awards for his movie acting; had a tv variety show; was a member of mensa; was a friend of Robert F Kennedy and involved in peace & civil rights issues; he even published a letter urging the government to allow John & Yoko Lennon to remain in the US when they were trying to have them deported), and accomplished all this, despite being very ill, by the time he died at 37.

While Darin didn't have Robert's control and near perfect pitch, he had other qualities in comon w/Robert: he was very versatile in terms of how many genres he tackled, he chose great songwriters to cover, he was superb at improvising/interpreting melodies and made fantastic use of rhythm & syncopation. Another thing they had in common: AHMET ERTEGUN! If you want to learn more about him, DON'T see the Spacey film (an impressive undertaking by Spacey, but not like the real thing-would you want to watch a movie about Robert played by Coverdale?): check out the PBS documentary, Beyond the Song, instead.

I don't understand why he's only known for Mack, Beyond the Sea, Dream Lover & Splish Splash. My fave Darin album is Songs From Big Sur, which is a collection of all songs Darin wrote, from later in his career, and they're folk/rock. I'd love to see a tribute version of that album, called Songs From Big Sur Revisited or something, covered by all kinds of folks, including Robert (Simple Song of Freedom), John Prine (Me & Mr Hohner-the phrasing & cheeky, rhyming lyrics are so much like a Prine song it's spooky, because Darin wrote it before Prine came along), The Dave Matthews Band (Long Line Rider-the original sounds a lot like DMB ). Maybe I'll try to contact his son Dodd Darin & see what he thinks of that idea.

I'm VERY grateful Elvis came along, because he was a huge influence on Robert, but I'd choose Bobby over Elvis myself-no contest. Neil Young said Bobby was a "fucking genius". Brian Setzer's a big fan too. If he'd lived longer, there's no telling what else he could have done.


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