The Crooning Side Of Bobby Darin

Regular visitors to the GMC know that I enjoy writing about crooners, and have also explored the definition of the term and whether it is even considered a compliment. (See From Sinatra To Rod Stewart – The Crooner Conundrum.) But not every singer is a crooner, and some guys are a little hard to classify — like Bobby Darin.

Darin was just 37 when he died in 1973, so any discussion of his career starts with the fact that it was much shorter than most. But the guy who had become a star from early hits like “Splish Splash,” “Dream Lover,” and “Mack The Knife,” did begin to veer closer to croonerhood as the years passed.

Certainly he fulfilled some of the requirements — he was a smooth and vibrant singer who made the ladies swoon — but when he began recording some traditional standards in the early 1960s, results were mixed. Songs like “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” and “Irresistible You” sold some records for the singer, and his record producers certainly hoped he would to continue to encroach on the territory of guys like Sinatra or Dino.

But even though he would manage to cover many established standards (like those below) in the years to follow, he never seemed really comfortable singing them, and he’s now mostly remembered as a pop singer. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Bobby Darin – “I’m Beginning To See The Light”


5 thoughts on “The Crooning Side Of Bobby Darin

  1. I did mention the Grammy-winner earlier in the piece but it’s not crooning by my (admittedly arbitrary) definition. For that, I need to hear a traditional jazz standard, the kind of ballad that the ladies swooned to. Actually, “Beyond the Sea” comes closer for me.


  2. Oops! Sorry I missed the mention. And you’re right, “Mack the Knife” isn’t crooning. More swing. (Although crooners did sing with swing bands—guess it’s just the style of the music. Never broke that down before!


  3. You’re right, crooners often did sing with the swing bands. In fact, a lot of them started that way and later became solo stars.


  4. If you’ve every heard Sinatra sing Mack the Knife, you’d never accuse Darin of channeling him. Darin’s version is a swing masterpiece and is all his own. You also might try to listen to some of Darin’s ballads to determine his crooner credentials. Try The Other Half of Me or What A Difference A Day Makes. Thanks for an interesting blog!


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