“A great voice, he ain’t got. An actor he don’t seem to be. A matinee idol he certainly ain’t. A happy kid he’s not either, they tell me. But you put all the ain’ts and nots together, and you got the hottest talent to walk across a stage in over twenty years.” - Anonymous “Showbiz Old-timer,” Cosmopolitan Magazine, 1960
With much appreciation for the warm and enthusiastic responses the two previous postings of Bobby Darin songs have received, today begins a new and regular feature on “… and several butcher‘s aprons” - the inaugural launch of “A Sunday Dose of Darin.” Each week will feature an interesting, entertaining and, possibly, unexpected Bobby Darin number accompanied by facts or stories from his life that will be relevant to the chosen song. I say, unexpected, as the hope is to go beyond, “Beyond the Sea,” and “Mack the Knife,” so that those unfamiliar with the Darin canon and history will be exposed to his impressive and varied body of work, while at the same time his more knowledgeable and loyal followers will still find something to pique their interest.
On this solemn weekend when we commemorate the sorrowful events of September 11th, 2001, it seems most appropriate to present a song that demonstrates Darin’s politically and socially aware side. From his Bob Darin, folk-rock, singer-songwriter period, this is “Simple Song of Freedom.”
Bobby Darin was a man of conscience and concern who did what he could to combat the ills of social injustice and racial inequality. As a performer, for example, he would often employ black comics, as his opening acts, in night clubs that had strict policies against hiring black entertainers. If the club owners fought him, he would simply refuse to perform. As a songwriter, he composed dozens of songs that addressed the various, contentious issues of the day. And as an individual citizen, Darin participated in civil rights marches on Washington and worked, intently, on Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign. Darin was so profoundly affected by the assassination of the man he called friend, and saw as the hope for the future of our embattled nation that, in response, he gave away the vast majority of his material wealth and escaped to a rented trailer on a beach in Malibu in order to sort out his priorities and personal and professional future.
‘When Bobby Kennedy was killed I thought, if a man like that could die, than what could I do for this world?” - Bobby Darin.
Composed in 1969 - Simple Song of Freedom