Bobby Darin was a preeminent pop singer who as early as 1958, when his first hit, the rock novelty "Splish Splash," was on the charts, warned that he intended to expand his musical borders.
We are accustomed in pop to seeing superior artists go through various golden eras in their careers, as with Elvis Presley's '50s and late-'60s Memphis periods or Frank Sinatra's various triumphs on the Columbia, Capitol and Reprise record labels.
However, Darin was perhaps unique in that his golden periods each involved different musical styles—from early rock ("Early in the Morning") to adult pop ("Mack the Knife") to R&B ("The Right Time") to country ("You're the Reason I'm Living") to folk ("If I Were a Carpenter") and beyond.
Though he also had several acting credits (including an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in the 1963 comedy-drama "Captain Newman, M.D."), Darin's legacy was his music.
The singer, who also wrote some of his material, was 22 when he scored his first hit, a novelty for Atlantic's Atco label titled "Splish Splash" that had one-hit wonder written all over it.
But Darin not only came back with more rock hits, he also moved boldly into the area of adult pop, scoring a No. 1 single and a pair of Grammys (best new artist and record of the year) for his finger-snapping version of "Mack the Knife," from "The Threepenny Opera." He was just 23.
After such other pop-oriented successes as "Beyond the Sea" and "Artificial Flowers," Capitol Records lured Darin away from Atlantic, hoping to fill the void left by Sinatra, who had left the label to start Reprise Records. It wasn't a big stretch because Darin had already done an album, "Two of a Kind," with two Sinatra favorites: singer-songwriter Johnny Mercer and arranger Billy May.
In many ways, he may have been the most versatile, ambitious and misunderstood artist of his time.
|1963||Best Supporting Actor||Captain Newman, M.D.||Nomination|