Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 14: Bobby Darin, "Drean Lover," "Mack the Knife" was born on this date in 1936....

... he died on December 20, 1973 from heart failure. He was only 37 when he passed away.

Born Walden Robert Perciville Cassotto "Bobby" was a Grammy award winning singer, and Oscar nominated actor. He changed his name so it would sound less ethnic. Legend has it that he chose Darin after seeing a malfunctioning electric Chinese restaurant sign that read "...DARIN DUCK" rather than "MANDARIN DUCK."

Darin was born in The Bronx. The man Bobby was told was his father- and actually was his grandfather - died in jail a few months before he was born. Darin once said that his crib was a cardboard box, then later a dresser drawer.

By the time he was a teenager he could play several instruments, including piano, drums and guitar, he later added harmonica and xylophone. Known as a rock & roll singer, he also sang jazz, country, folk, was a Las Vegas regular, and an interpreter of popular standards.  H is considered one of the best singers and entertainers of his era, even though he died very young.

It was not commonly known that his health was dangerously fragile due to recurring bouts of rheumatic fever beginning at the age of 8. the illness left him with a seriously weakened heart. Overhearing a doctor tell his mother he would be lucky to reach the age of 16 his fear of dying young drove him to succeed knowing he would die relatively young.

For most of his teenage years Bobby was a "comedy drummer" and a vocalist. He started work at famous Brill Building of songwriters and was introduced to then up-and-coming singer Connie Francis. Their relationship bloomed into a romance, until Connie's father stepped in. When Francis's father learned that Darin had suggested the two lovers elope after one of her shows, he ran Darin out of the building while waving a gun and telling him never to see his daughter again.

Darin saw Francis only twice more - once when the two were scheduled to sing together on a television show, and again when Francis was featured son the TV show This Is Your Life.

HIGHLY Recommended (Press album covers for direct links to Amazon):

Legendary Bobby DarinUltimateBobby Darin - Beyond the SongDarin at the Copa

Bobby was married to Sandra Dee from 1960 to 1967. They met when she was 16-years-old, while filming Come September.    

Bobby hoped for a career in the New York theatre, and dropped out of college to play small nightclubs around the city with a musical combo. In the Catskill Mountains resort area, he was both an entertainer and a busboy. Bobby's manager arranged for him to help write several songs in order to help jump-start her singing career.

His own singing career took off in 1958 when he wrote and recorded "Splish Splash" which was an instant hit. He went on to have many hits including "Queen of the Hop," "Dream Lover," "Mack The Knife," "Beyond The Sea," "Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey?", "Clemintine, "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby," "Things" and "You're the Reason I'm Living."  He recorded on several labels including a stint with Motown.

In 1972, Bobby starred in his own TV variety show on NBC, The Bobby Darin Amusement Company, which ran until his death. He died during surgery to repair a faulty heart valve. At the age of 8 he was stricken with rheumatic fever which left him with a seriously diseased heart. Before he died, a five-person surgical team worked for over six hours to repair his damaged heart. Although the surgery was initially successful, Bobby died minutes afterward in the recovery room without regaining consciousness.

Two of a KindBobby Darin - Greatest HitsDream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee - by Their Son Dodd DarinIf I Were a Carpenter/Inside Out

The Righteous Brothers refer to Darin in their song Rock and Roll Heaven, a tribute to late musicians. the song was released only months after Darin's death.

In 1990, singer Paul Anka made the speech for Darin's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1999, he was voted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In December 2007, Darin was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.

Darin had a custom car built called the "Dream Car", designed by Andy DiDia. The car is on display at the St. Louis Museum of Transportation.

On December 13, 2009, the Recording Academy announced that Darin would receive a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2010 Grammy Awards ceremony. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


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