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BOBBY DARIN  5/13/36 – 12/20/73

During the 50’s and early 60’s, racism divided radio just as it divided America. White people, for the most part, didn’t want to hear Black voices sing about a life style they couldn’t relate to and Black people didn’t want to hear White voices sing about a life style they were being denied.

I don’t believe there was a conspiracy to”steal’ songs and styles from black artists and give them to white artists to make pop hits. It often was the idea of many progressive, soulful white artists to sing songs they personally liked and wanted to record.

Such an artist was Bobby Darin, who who could sing and write like a Black man, (“Splish, Splash”, “Queen Of The Hop”). he could also sound like a country singer ( You’re The Reason I’m Living”, “Things”), a folk singer, (“If I Were A Carpenter”)…not to mention “Swing” like Sinatra (“Mack The Knife”, “Beyond The Sea”)

It was singing R&B flavored songs, however, that first captured the public’s attention, and brought him to the top of the charts. I met him for the first time, back stage at an Alan Freed Rock And Roll Show in 1959, when I was trying to break into the record business.

I was sitting in the rehearsal room of the Brooklyn Fox Theater, learning a few chords from my new pal, Bo Diddley who I met that morning after sneaking backstage. I remember Jackie Wilson, Jimmy Clanton and Bobby Darin coming in and asking if we would mind if they played a test pressing of Bobby’s next single. I sat there spellbound as we all listened to the record that would take his career to the next level…”Dream Lover”!

Over the next few days I sat with Bobby and played him a couple of my songs. When I told him I was going to sign a management contract with Alan Freed, he spoke to me privately and told me about a friend of his who just opened a publishing company at 1650 Broadway.

He wrote down his friend’s name in my autograph book…and the next day I went to audition for Don Kirshner.

For almost two years I was signed to Donnie and his partner Al Nevins’ company, Aldon music. Although I never got any of my songs covered or made a record while I was there, I did learn how to write songs from the best in the business, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Howard Greenfield, Larry Kolber and Barry Mann.

It wasn’t until 1963, until I saw Bobby Darin again. I left Aldon music and was writing songs with Ben Raleigh (“Wonderful, Wonderful”, “Tell Laura I Love Her”) When Bobby asked Ben If he had any songs, for his hot new artist , Wayne Newton. Ben and I wrote one and brought it back the next day. Bobby loved, “Better Now Than Later”and a few days later recorded it with Wayne and put it on the b-side of “Danke Schoen”.

After that I became a regular visitor to Bobby’s publishing company, TM Music, where my friends Kenny Young and Artie Resnick were signed as writers. I ran into Bobby, who asked If I had any folk songs for a new album he was working on. It must’ve been one of the hottest days of the year, when I started to play a new song I wrote with Ben, “Train To The Sky”. At the end the first chorus, Bobby smiled, reached up, whipped off his toupee and threw it on the couch!

I knew I’d start laughing if I stopped singing, so I sang it over and over until the moment passed. That night he went in and recorded the song with Walter Raim and Roger McGuinn playing all the instruments.

In 1965, after I was one of the first Americans to have open heart surgery, I remember I’d sit and talk to Bobby for hours about the procedure. He wanted to know if I was afraid? Did it hurt? Would I go through it again if I had to? Then he told me that he had a similar problem with his heart since he was a kid. He said his doctors talked about open heart surgery…but he was afraid to have it!

(To Be Continued)

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne

Bobby Darin sings “Dream Lover” on the Ed Sullivan Show http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoID=1549762784

To see Bobbys remarkable live performance in 1959 of “Mack The Knife” http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=582310482463733506&q=bobby+darin&total=396&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0

“If I Were A Carpenter” in a live 1973 “Midnight Special” performance http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7940216871363353978&q=bobby+darin&total=397&start=40&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=5

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne
https://artiewayne.wordpress.com

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When my Mother asks me what I want for Christmas, I curl my lip like Elvis and say, “A guitar ma’m…a guitar”. As usual, she gives me something that exceeds my expectations.  She sees me admiring an acoustic Kay guitar in a pawnshop by the 3rd Avenue El, and buys it for me on a lay-a-way plan.

 

I can’t afford guitar lessons, so I do the next best thing; I sit in front of the stage at an Alan Freed Rock and Roll show and watch Buddy Holly and the Crickets.

 

The show is advertised as having the biggest Stars in the Rock and Roll Galaxy. Although I enjoy Bo Diddley (“Bo Diddley”), Eddie Cochran (“Summertime Blues”), Chuck Berry “Maybeline”, The Diamonds (‘Lil Darlin’”),and The Flamingos (“I Only Have Eyes For You”), I’m here to see one group, whose song, “That’ll Be The Day”, is racing up the charts!

I remember Alan Freed comes out at the 10:00 AM show, in his trademark plaid jacket and is about to introduce Buddy Holly and the Crickets. From where I’m sitting I can see someone in the wings waving and trying to get Alan’s attention. Now he sees two-thirds of the group waiting in the wings, but makes his announcement anyway, “Now here’s Buddy Holly and The Cricket!”. Fortunately, Joe B.Mauldin runs onstage with his stand-up bass, halfway through the first song, and added the icing on the cake.

 “Well, That’ll Be The Day…when you say goodbye. That’ll be The Day…”

 

After the show, I stand in the pouring rain hoping to meet my hero at the stage door. Ritchie Valens, and Eddie Cochran, who is also on the show, comes out and graciously signs autographs for anyone who asks. Joe B. Mauldin, and Jerry Allison of the Crickets, sign my autograph book as well.

 

I wait another half an hour ’cause I can’t wait to tell Buddy how much his music means to me and how I sat in the third row for the last few days making diagrams of where he put his fingers so I can play just like him! When his bandmates return, Joe says that Buddy probably isn’t coming out.  Disappointed but inspired, I take the subway back home to the Bronx before it gets dark.

 

When your plane crashed, they said it was the “Day the music died”…but Buddy, your music has never died for me,”Rave On” and Rock In Perpetuity!   

  

 

 

JUST ADDED A MINUTE AND A HALF CLIP OF BUDDY AND ELVIS IN A 1955 HOME MOVIE!http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8k2b_johnny-cash-elvis-presley-buddy-hol_music

 

 

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