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The Life and Times of Bobby Darin

Written By: Sugar Ray Lamere



We need only to listen to bobby darin's exciting "Mack the Knife" to remind us that, after Sinatra he was the greatest of all swingers. Among the young rockers of the 60's, Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Paul Anka, one talent shone brighter, better and more true...Bobby Darin.

Back in the age of "cool" there was Sinatra, Darin and then there were all the others, but Darin was not Sinatra whose roots were big bands, jazz and swing. Bobby's roots were rythym & blues, rock, country, folk as well as old time Vaudeville, jazz and swing too.

He was born into poverty and named Walden Robert Cassotto May 14, 1936. He lived in a housing project near F.D.R. drive on the lower East side of Manhattan, near Sammy's Bowery Follies where Red Hot Mamas belted out songs on top of the bar. The nearby Katz's Deli, whose motto was "Send a salami to your boy in the army," was his favorite. In his early teens he was surrounded by giants like Wild Bill Davidson, Max Kaminsky and Louis Armstrong playing all night on Second Avenue.


By his early teens he was a natural, he could do impressions, play seven musical instruments and write songs. Splish Splash was the song that launched his career in the 50's. By the 1960's he was show business royalty and no longer a rock star but an adult night club sensation. Then came the big hits, Mack The Knife, Beyond The Sea, Mame and Lazy River. His Hollywood years would bring a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in the film "Captain Newman M.D." with Gregory Peck and Tony Curtis. About that time he wed Sandra Dee who was also show business royalty.


In 1965 Bobby experienced a debilitating heart crisis. Doctors had told his mother when he was a child he could be lucky if he reached the age of 30. His illness took up more and more of his time and strength and drained him of hope. On May 1st 1966 he informed Sandra that he wanted a divorce. At that time he was King of the night clubs but the night club era was coming to an end. The public had moved elsewhere to The Beatles, Rock and Folk music and he was back with the standards and swingers without a hit. He was in his early thirties and knew he was living on borrowed time. His move towards folk music produced his big hit "If I Were A Carpenter". It soared to the top of the charts because it was in tune with the times. Bobby was ecstatic, he was once again on top with Peter Paul and Mary and Joni Mitchell.  He was once again King of the nightclubs The Sahara, Hilton in Vegas and the Copa. At the top of his game women threw keys on stage and followed him relentlessly. Finally on December 10th 1973 after a show he was taken to the hospital with heart failure. He Died December 20th, he was 37 years old.

Sugar Ray Lamere has toured the globe from Maine to the French Riviera. He has worked with Tommy Tucker, Bobby Sherwood, The Meyer Davis Orchestra, Sande Williams and many others.  Ray is truly a swinger and an expert in the subject of Big Band/Swing Music and entertainers of that era.  He hosted a radio show for WMVI and WMHT called Saturday Night Swing. You can see more of Ray's work on his YouTube Account: