My favorite artist, after Elvis and U2, Bobby Darin died 38 years ago today at the young age of 37. I first learned of Bobby Darin at age 4 while watching my favorite tv show Happy Days. Potsie, Richie and Ralph would sing Bobby’s hit Splish Splash every time they played Arnold’s. Of course I called it ‘Pish Pash.’ I didn’t speak too well back then, but I loved that song.
Splish Splash was pretty much the extent of my knowledge of Bobby Darin until I became an adult. I heard and fell in love with Beyond the Sea, and I was hooked. I read every biography I could find. I first read Me and Bobby D by Steve Karmen, Bobby’s boyhood friend and first music partner. Then I read Roman Candle: The Life of Bobby Darin by David Evanier, Bobby Darin by Al DiOrio, Bobby Darin by Michael Seth Starr, and finally Dream Lovers by Dodd Darin about his parents Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee. I also bought the three movies Bobby Darin starred in with Sandra Dee: Come September, If a Man Answers, and That Funny Feeling.
I learned many interesting things about Bobby Darin while reading all those biographies. The most attractive to me was his passionate performances. The main reason I love Elvis and U2 is for their passion. Actually passion is probably the most attractive and admirable quality to me. Bobby Darin was so passionate about performing that he wore a condom on stage while singing because he would get so excited. Music moved him that much! Of course after reading this, I had to find DVDs of his performances. I bought Bobby Darin: The Darin Invasion, Bobby Darin: Singing at his Best, and my favorite and his last Bobby Darin: Mack is Back.
Bobby Darin was born Walden Robert Cassotto in 1936 in the Bronx. He grew up poor and sick. He was stricken with recurring bouts of rheumatic fever, which weakened his heart. Bobby lived his life knowing that it would be a short one. This motivated him to do as much as he could as quickly as he could. Bobby grew up with his mother and his sister. The man who he thought was his father died in jail before he was born. Bobby Darin married Sandra Dee in 1960, and they had one son Dodd. Unfortunately they divorced in 1967. A year later Bobby, at age 32, was shocked when his sister Nina told him that she was actually his mother and his mother Polly, whom he adored and had died years before, was actually his grandmother. Bobby never learned who his real father was. Later that same year Bobby was devastated when his friend Bobby Kennedy, whom he had been traveling with on his campaign, was assassinated. After all of this, Bobby sort of lost his way. He spent some time in seclusion in a trailer in the woods and turned to folk music. He eventually returned to the stage. Bobby Darin died in 1973 at the young age of 37 from an infection after forgetting to take his medication to protect his heart during a dental visit. Bobby Darin was a great singer, a great performer, a great actor, and a very passionate man. He starred in many movies and was even nominated for an oscar. Bobby also played many instruments, including the drums. But what I admire so much about Bobby Darin was his singing – he was so passionate and versatile. He sang all types of music really well. He could sing 1950s pop like Splish Splash, big band standards like Beyond the Sea and folk music like If I Were a Carpenter. Today I remember the great Bobby Darin, taken from us way too soon.