That's "sixty-eleven," by the way.
I will be catching up to 1992 in the birthday countdown tomorrow. Haven't felt well these past few days, and also I am stuck using the wee PC laptop in the evenings, which is limiting and frustrating. Always appreciative to have it, never thrilled by its sheer inelegance and awkward text formatting.
So. Bobby Darin. If you've read my blog since 2003, and who hasn't? you know he's one of my favorite, or I should rather say, most cherished topics. Today is the anniversary of his birth, precisely four months after my mother's birth, and were it not for a quirk of fate, it's likely they'd both be alive today, in the December of their years, at 76. Instead, he died at age 37, and she at age 53.
Bobby Darin is the reason for so much of what I appreciate musically and sensually. That can't be overstated. Even though he was always on the radio and somewhat in the consciousness of anyone who enjoyed 50s and 60s music, I "discovered" him in high school in the early 80s, when I heard "Mack the Knife" on some TV program and fell rapturously in love with it. But that song isn't the thing about the thing. It was the flipside, "Beyond the Sea," which did it for me. Mom made me listen to it. I don't know what the original flipside was, but with oldies, they'd just stick another hit on so you got to enjoy two old things you knew on one record. And it blew me away. No, it grabbed me and pulled me in.
So during an era when I was enjoying the Cars, the Go-Gos, Cameo, The Gap Band, and any New Wave thing I could find on broadcast TV, I fell in love with Bobby Darin, and, by extension, a whole world I'd barely paid any attention to while growing up. All that jazz was background noise, and then suddenly it was just what I needed.
He was short, arrogant, and wore a hairpiece. My vague memories of him from childhood were the same I had of the other singers of his ilk; terrible hair, terrible suits, a terrible need to fit in where they no longer belonged. But I've outlived him now by nearly a decade, and believe me, I get it, the whole thing.
Because I was wrong. We were wrong. The young people, in whose world we no longer entirely belong, need to own their space, and they need to do it their own way. But their space is so much smaller than they think it is. And it is a hell of a lot less cool than they think it is, because they're still constantly defining, judging, measuring, and they take themselves oh so seriously while they're at it, more, I think, with each generation, because each generation has the burden of so much more knowledge than did the previous one.
It's only a burden if you let it be, though, and at my age, it's very freeing to let quite a lot of that go. It's much sexier. After all, 47 is the new 37, don'tcha know.
My 13 year-old dim bulb son made a pop culture reference today in his virtual classroom that only the teacher and one other kid understood. Score! But also kind of a bummer. I said, "I think we should know pop culture, at least, that is twice as old as our age, so the older you get, the farther back you're able to go. Right now, you can go back around 30 years and I can go back around 90 years."
Whoa! Tin Pan Alley! But this is what I think.
There is a piece of my soul wrapped around my love for Bobby Darin, which began just about 30 years ago this month. It was just the beginning. I'd been exposed to many genres of much quality music my whole life, but that was the year I began discovering it as an adult.
That year, Charlotte Williams and I carefully constructed a list of the composite male. Basically, think Jeremy Northam on paper, before anyone knew who he was. Well, that's probably still my physical ideal, but I no longer match my personal ideal so that's something to confront, and besides, I know a great deal more about men these days. I now know why I found Bobby Darin so sexy and still do, even though it made me vaguely uncomfortable to admit it in 1982. It's also not an overstatement to say he's one of the reasons I think men are wonderful, the little dears. Because of Bobby Darin, I know that a man can be any height and have any amount of hair and really know how to make a woman drop her jaw in desire for him, for his manhood. It's one of my favorite aspects of humanity.
This live recording has much less polish and depth than the recording I first loved, but I think it's a treat for his birthday.
Here are a couple others I really love more now, though, which are in my file library here, and on the other computer I'd know how to make them play inline:
and you know, I've always wished there was a recording of him singing "Danke Schoen." He had the rights to the song, and gave it to young Wayne Newton to record for his new label, TM Records. I've read that Darin did actually do a recording of it, but that the tapes were lost in a warehouse fire in the late 60s. So, I don't know. Sigh.
Don't look now, but the record's over.