Bobby Darin: Splish Splash

Bobby Darin — born in 1936 as Robert Walden Cassotto in the Bronx — accomplished a lot in his life, which only lasted 34 years. Here is a short bio and a long one. This is the first paragraph from the short one, which is at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website:

Bobby Darin was one of the most ambitious and versatile performers of the last 60 years. He straddled generations, appealing to bobbysoxers as a teen idol who wrote and recorded “Splish Splash” in 1958 and then winning over their parents as the swaggering, Sinatra-voiced adult who cut the ultimate version of “Mack the Knife” (a song from Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s musical Threepenny Opera) only a year later. Both songs were enormous hits, with “Splish Splash” reaching Number Three and “Mack the Knife” topping the chart for an astounding nine weeks. Darin’s range was as boundless as his brash self-confidence. In 1959, he told a Life magazine reporter that he wanted to be a pop legend by the age of 25, while he allegedly informed another writer that he intended to surpass Frank Sinatra.

Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald did fabulous versions of Mack the Knife, so pronouncing Darin’s the best is not fair. But the rest of this long paragraph captures the bottom line: Darin was a very talented guy. He also seems to have matured as quickly as some of the rock-and-roll bands that followed.

Here are Across the Sea, Mack the Knife (you decide: Here are Armstrong’s and Fitzgerald’s versions) and Artificial Flowers. There also are two clips that deal with trains: a medley with Judy Garland from her show and revealing footage of Darin relaxing and playing guitar while riding. He plays the beginning of a song he is working on that sounds like it could have been written by Woody Guthrie.

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