Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bobby Darin – "Beyond the Sea" (1959)

My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailing

Here are some things about Bobby Darin that you probably didn’t know:

– Darin was born Walden Robert Cassotto in East Harlem in 1936.  He was the grandson of Saverio Antonio “Big Sam Curly” Cassotto, who died in prison a year before Darin’s birth.

– One day in 1958, Darin was hanging out with legendary disc jockey Murray “Murray the K” Kaufman.  Kaufman’s mother, a frustrated songwriter who often ran new song ideas by her son, called to tell him the title of her latest song idea: “Splish, Splash, Take a Bath.”  Darin, whose recording career was floundering, wrote a song based on Mrs. Kaufman’s idea in an hour.  “Splash Splash” made it all the way to #3 on the Billboard “Hot 100.”

DJ "Murray the K" Kaufman
– Darin co-owned a music publishing and production with Terry Melcher (Doris Day’s son and the one-time boyfriend of Candice Bergen).  He signed Wayne Newton, and gave him what became his signature song, “Danke Schoen.”

– Roger McGuinn worked at Darin’s music company and played 12-string guitar in Darin’s band before he joined the Byrds.

– Darin supported Bobby Kennedy’s bid for the 1968 Democratic Presidential nomination.  He was present at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles the night Kennedy was assassinated.

– That same year, Darin learned that the woman he thought was his mother was actually his grandmother, and that the woman he thought was his sister was actually his mother.

– Darin was a chess enthusiast, and his 1972 television variety show included occasional segments where Darin would explain a chess move.  Darin sponsored a grandmasters-only chess tournament in 1973 that had a $25,000 purse – which was the biggest purse in the history of tournament chess.

– Darin had a weak heart because he had rheumatic fever as a child, and eventually had two artificial heart valves surgically implanted into his heart.  But in 1973, Darin developed sepsis (a serious systematic infection) as a result of not taking antibiotics before going to the dentist.  (Years ago, my doctor detected an old mitral valve prolapse – that is, a heart murmur – when she gave me my annual physical.  The cardiologist she referred me to advised that I take an antibiotic before having my teeth cleaned in order to prevent an infection that could further damages my heart valves.  Today, the American Heart Association no longer recommends that people like me take an antibiotic before going to the dentist.)

Here’s “Beyond the Sea”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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