Monday, October 18, 2010
A Sunday Dose of Darin - If I Were a Carpenter
“I used to be pissed off at Bobby Darin because he changed styles so much. Now I look at him and I think he was a f…ing genius.” - Neil Young
From Splish Splash and Dream Lover to Mack the Knife and Beyond the Sea to Things and 18 Yellow Roses to If I Were a Carpenter and Simple Song of Freedom - no other performer had such success with such a wide range of material and styles. And from Bobby Darin to Bob Darin back to Bobby Darin again - he did it all with sincerity, artistry and authenticity. Add in the fact that besides being this chameleon of a singer he was also a musician, a record producer and record executive, a hit-making songwriter and an Oscar nominated actor and one can’t help but wonder - if he did all of this in his brief 37 years, what might he had accomplished in a lengthier lifetime. I imagine that this is a “what if” game that commonly crosses the mind of Bobby Darin fans. Think of what a fine, older character actor he could have become and the idea of finally receiving the much coveted Oscar seems perfectly reasonable conjecture. In the field of music he might have also experienced the same type of late-life career revival, and much deserved appreciation, that Tony Bennett now enjoys. But as Darin delved into so many various genres of popular music and did so with a fairly equitable achievement in each, he may have been in the enviable position to take advantage of any number of musical style revivals - show tunes and standards, folk, oldies and classic rock.
If Bobby Darin was still with us, at 74, today the shelves of his study would no doubt be dangerously burdened by the weight of myriad additional awards and honors, among them - the aforementioned Oscar, more Grammys, including one for lifetime achievement, and the highly prestigious Kennedy Center Honor. On a lighter, perhaps more irreverent note - we could have watched Bobby’s toupees fake age with him through the years as we similarly did with Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. It would be nice to think that Darin would have demonstrated a little better judgment and a bit more constraint than Bennett who spent far too much time with an apparent ocelot on his head.
For some more insight into this speculative exercise, the book, “That’s All,” contains the thoughts of two of Darin’s good friends and musical associates - Nik Venet and Bobby Scott
“Had he lived today,” Scott said,” he would probably be doing what a guy like Tony Bennett is doing: Doing a lot of things that are considered jazzier. And he would bring interpretive things to songs, and a different look at them, so that people would happily pay their money to hear him.”
Venet holds a quite dissimilar opinion, “He’d probably have his own film company and his own record company, and he’d be the executive like Francis Ford Coppola.”
And then it’s entirely possible that both men would actually have been correct.
This Day in Darin History -
On October 17, 1960, the "Darin at The Copa" album entered the record charts where it eventually peaked at the number 9 spot. Songs on the live LP included Some of these Days, Mack the Knife, Bill Bailey, I Have Dreamed, Clementine, I Got a Woman, That’s All and many others.
I really love this clip, I find it a moving, genuine, heartfelt performance and I think you’ll agree. There’s a beauty and elegance in its sparseness and simplicity.
From 1966, released by Atlantic Records, written by Tim Hardin, a song that reached the number 8 spot on the charts and earned Bobby Darin another Grammy Award nomination - If I Were a Carpenter.