Bobby Darin

“He could play any instrument, and he was doing jazz and folk and rock and anything else he wanted. He could do it all - and do it all well.”
-- Dion DiMucci
1959 would be Bobby Darin's biggest year. Since 1956 he had been working for Don Kirschner, mostly writing music. Upon Kirschner's suggestion he changed his name from Robert Cossoto and appeared on the Dorsey Brothers' "Stage Show" (the show that first debuted Elvis Presley previously that year). That appearance led to a contract with Decca records. But his recordings failed to chart and by 1958 he was with Atco records, and barely hanging on. Then, he literally made a "splash" in pop music in 1958 with his recording of "Splish Splash." He got the idea for the song from the mother of disc jockey Murray the K. He wrote and recorded it in May and by July it had risen to #3 on the Billboard charts. Bobby did not want to squander his opportunity. He appeared on as many variety television shows as he could and got a lot of attention, both with his performing talent and cocky attitude. But he hadn't been all that sure with "Splish Splash" as he simultaneously released another recording on the Brunswick label he'd done under the name of The Rinky Dinks -- "Early in the Morning." When "Splish Splash" hit it big, Atco bought the rights to "Early in the Morning" and it made it to #24 that summer. In the Spring of 1959, Darin had his first number one song with "Dream Lover." Bobby wrote the song and it featured the piano playing of Neil Sedaka. After that success, Darin was interviewed by Life magazine and brazingly proclaimed, "I'd like to be a legend by the time I'm 25 years old." He was 22 at the time. Then came one of the most unique recordings of the Elvis Era. On his first album, "That's All" Bobby had included a track of "Mack the Knife." It was a song from "The Threepenny Opera" which had originally been written in German in 1929 as "Mortitat." The opera was a satire of a decadent German society of the day. When it was translated into English, it was set in 1830's Soho -- a dirty London community in which a ruthless gangster is ultimately betrayed by a woman. Bobby Darin performed the song in a hip version as part of his nightclub act. Atco liked it and wanted to release it as a single. Darin resisted as he thought it might tarnish his image of a rock and roller as it came from an "opera." But Atco released it anyway. It became the biggest song of 1959, spending nine weeks at #1. Bobby Darin's music success continued in 1960 with his recording of "Beyond the Sea" (#6) and his releases continued to chart after that, but he would not have another number one. He did achieve great success as an actor, appearing on many television shows and movies. He was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor in "Doctor Newman, M.D." in 1963. And he appeared in several movies with eventual wife, Sandra Dee. In 1964, when the British Invasion was knocking the "Teen Idols" from the charts, Darin again had a top ten recording with "If I Were a Carpenter" (#8). Bobby Darin had a congenital heart problem and often declared that he believed he would die prematurely. On December 20, 1973 he died of heart failure. He was thirty-seven years old. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
title week debuted highest ranking weeks on chart
If I Were a Carpenter

Splish Splash 1958 6 30 3 13
Queen of the Hop 1958 10 27 9 14
Dream Lover 1959 5 4 2 13
Mack the Knife 1959 9 7 1 22
Beyond the Sea 1960 1 25 6 11
(Won't You Come Home) Bill Bailey 1960 6 20 20 8
Artificial Flowers 1960 10 17 20 8
Lazy River 1961 2 20 14 7
You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby 1961 9 11 5 9
Irresistable You 1962 1 13 15 8
Things 1962 7 21 3 9
You're the Reason I'm Living 1963 2 2 3 12
18 Yellow Roses 1963 5 25 10 7