I feel like posting a few pieces of music this week.
To my mind, Bobby Darin was one of the most underrated talents in the pop music business. He not only had a unique singing style (remember “Mack the Knife”?), but was also a great songwriter during the Brill Building years of rock and roll. And he was a creditable actor, too, winning a Golden Globe for his performance in the movie “Come September“.
Darin’s biography on Wikipedia is of great interest to those who remember him. I didn’t know, for instance, that his romance with fellow singer Connie Francis was busted up by Francis’s Italian father wielding a shotgun (Darin later married Sandra Dee of “Gidget” fame). He died from heart problems at only 37, a great loss to popular music.
Here’s Darin doing a live performance of one of my favorite pop songs (the excuse for this post), “Beyond the Sea” (the tune is taken from a French song, “La Mer,” which had completely different words). You’ll like the music, but you may dislike his patter (I love it). He was a consummate entertainer.
Listen carefully to the arrangement of this song (and the Spacey version below): it’s terrific, with an almost Basie-like interposition of the horns. Note the bit from the old Cab Calloway song, “Blue Serge Suit.” At 5:17 Darin notes that he’s 37 years old. I believe this performance was recorded on April 27, 1973; Darin died on December 20 of that year.
Kevin Spacey played Darin in a forgettable movie also called “Beyond the Sea.” But Spacey’s physical resemblance to Darin is astonishing, and what you might not know is that Spacey is a damn good singer, too. Both qualities are on display in this live performance of the eponymous song. Note that Spacey is introduced by Katie Couric, who does a twirl with him halfway through the song.
If you want to see a younger Darin singing this song live, go here.