Thursday, March 15, 2012

More Bobby ... And Roger McGuinn (?!?!?)

Your 60's Flashback about Bobby Darin was incredibly interesting, especially his relationship with Sinatra. One thing you might not know about Bobby was his close relationship with Roger McGuinn: After hired as a sideman by the Limeliters and the Chad Mitchell Trio, and producing for Judy Collins (he produced her early 60's album that included "Turn, Turn, Turn"), Bobby hired Roger (Jim) to play guitar and sing backup harmonies as Bobby wanted to add some folk roots to his repertoire. Unfortunately, about a year and a half after Roger began his relationship with Bobby, Darin became seriously ill and retired from singing. Bobby then opened T.M. Music in the legendary Brill Building in New York City, hiring Roger as a song writer for $35.00 a week!!!
And just a sidenote on Roger, Feb 8th was my 63rd B-day and I was asked to fill in for Mornings on KIGN-FM for a Morning Guy that lost his voice. Wouldn't you know it, I was on live from 6 -10 am, at about 6:08 the station phone rang and on the other end of the line was Roger wishing me a Happy B-Day! He had just finished a gig on the West Coast and he and his wife Camilla were on their way driving back to their home in Florida. Talk about a pleasant surprise! It definitely made my day!
"Wild" Bill Cody
VERY Cool, Wild Bill! Here's how we covered the Bobby Darin / Roger McGuinn connection in our series way back when:
In late 1962, Bobby Darin went to see Lenny Bruce perform at The Crescendo in Los Angeles.  The Chad Mitchell Trio were the opening act that night and Bobby fell in love with the stylings of their guitarist.  In fact, after the show was over, he went backstage to meet the band and offered the guitar player DOUBLE what he was currently making to join his own back-up band.  As it turned out, the guitarist was bored with the music of The Chad Mitchell Trio ... and was already considering an offer to join The New Christy Minstrels.  Darin persuaded him that he would be lost in the crowd of such a large outfit and that he would be better served "hooking up with me."   And, that's how it came to be that future-Byrd Roger McGuinn began playing guitar for Bobby Darin!
McGuinn takes credit for first introducing Bobby Darin to the music of Bob Dylan ... all the more fitting in that The Byrds launched their career with a cover of the Dylan song "Mr. Tambourine Man".  Likewise, Bobby's philosophy on rock and roll is said to have influenced Roger McGuinn, prompting The Byrds to plug in their guitars and perform "electric" folk music, something that Dylan himself would later go on to do. 
While McGuinn's time in Bobby Darin's back-up band was short-lived (he was also employed as a staff-writer at Darin's Trinity Music Publishing Company ... but would soon leave to pursue his own musical interests, ultimately forming The Byrds and helping to set off the folk / rock phase!), Bobby continued to stay in touch with Roger over the years and never lost respect for him as an artist.  He also wished him well in all of his musical endeavors ... and never begrudged him for trying to make his own name in the music business.  (He also never stopped considering opportunities for the two of them to work together again either!)
In 1966, Bobby got the idea to make his own movie ... a film that was to be called "The Vendors" ... and he worked on it on and off for the next several years.  Although the film never really materialized, Darin poured vast amounts of his time and money into the making of the film, which was never released.  From the sounds of things, this is GOOD news ... the film was reportedly a disaster!
At first, Bobby considered Roger McGuinn for the lead role.  (Of course by 1966, Roger was already leading The Byrds during their biggest moment in the sun and the move really wouldn't have made much sense.)  However, early on (while Roger was still playing guitar in Bobby's band), he had once told Bobby that he wanted to get into movies ... and Darin considered THIS role to be the perfect springboard for a film career ... hell, it had already worked for him!  In Bobby's mind, why COULDN'T Roger do both ... and be a success at both!  So he set up a filming date to see if Roger could handle the part.  When all was said and done, the role of a heroin addict / junkie wasn't something Roger McGuinn wanted to be associated with for the rest of his career and, at the very last minute, he backed out.  When word got back to Bobby, Darin sent him the bill for a lost day of shooting!  (kk)
LOL:  At this rate, if this keeps up, we'll have rerun our entire Bobby Darin Series (albeit out of chronological order!) on the website pretty soon!  That's OK ... you guys really seem to like these excerpts ... so we'll feature them when we can (until the whole thing ultimately gets posted.)
Here's another cool Roger McGuinn clip where he recounts his amazing history ...
Hey y'all:
There's a good friend of mine on my "Byrds Enthusiasts" Facebook page who just posted this video of Roger McGuinn on "The Midnight Special".  It's an interview and his song "Take Me Away" circa '75 ... get aload of Roger's hair!
To date, this has been seen by ONE person in the entire world, ME!
So you are one of the first to view this!
"Wild" Bill Cody
"Eight Miles High" was The Byrds' (and final) top 20 hit.
But why were there two versions of the song?
Why was it briefly banned from radio?
And which famous musician's instrument is emulated in it?
Kent ...
I thought you might find this interesting.  
I'm reading Freddy Cannon's book "Where The Action Is!"
Page 154 - He compares the deaths of Elvis and Bobby.  
In Bobby's case , there wasn't much that he could have done to have avoided his fate. On the other hand, Elvis was unfortunately a victim of something he could have prevented. I think that Bobby Darin met an especially sad ending.
I knew Bobby, and I liked him. Not everyone did. He was undeniably a huge superstar in show business.  When I first met him he was billing himself as a songwriter, before he had his own hits with "Dream Lover" and "Splish Splash." He had a little office here in Los Angeles.  I talked to him on the phone, and he said to me, "Come over here, Freddy. I want to play you some songs that you might be interested in recording."  I can't remember what the songs were at the time, but he was trying to write a song for me. Nothing really came out of it, but I loved meeting him.
Bobby Darin was a great guy, and I really liked him. Unfortunately , some people have said that he was "an idiot" and he was "a jerk" who was hard to get along with.  I didn't find that at all. I think that recording artists don't act that way towards each other, because they have a mutual respect for each other.! There is something of a sense of peer camaraderie. When well-known singers get together, there is usually no pretense. Bobby Darin should not have died so young. To have died at the age of 37, of heart
disease, should not have happened to him at all.Like me, he had once contracted both rheumatic fever and scarlet fever. He also had a heart murmur, like I did. In my case, my body repaired it -- I grew out of it.  However, his did not, and he had a heart attack and
died.  Bobby Darin was brilliant. What a talent he was.! He could have been big still today. He seemed to have the knack to be able to sing any song, and to sell it. I loved his early rock & roll records, but as time went on, he started moving into singing big pop songs like Frank Sinatra. What a varied catalogue of music that he created:  from "Mack The Knife" in 1959 to his Top Ten version of "If I Were A Carpenter" in 1966, to his version of the song "Happy" in 1973. There was nothing he could not sing, and make every song
all his own. His death in 1973 was really tragic. It was not his fault, or at his own hands. It was simply a "roll of the dice," and his name came up. In my eyes, he was truly a great guy.
I believe what Freddy says about Bobby. In other parts of the book he has no trouble
talking about people he didn't like like Cher and Dionne Warwick. 
I do think the part where he said when us famous singers get together - there is a certain respect.
Frank B.  
Thanks, Frank.  I just landed in NYC and I LOVED reading this. If it's ok with you, I'd like to post it to the group. It seems to me that most people who knew Darin liked him. I think there was a lot of truth to the young, brash BD but it also became a lazy writer's construct. Thanks heaps, my pal.
I finished Freddy's book a couple of weeks ago ... a quick, fun read from a guy who TRULY appreciates the support his fans have shown him for all these years.  Freddy Cannon and Bobby Darin were a couple of REALLY big names during the early days of rock and roll ... cool to see that they seemed to have a mutual respect for one another.  (As I've said so many times before, one of the highlights of doing this is talking with some of the artists and finding out that they're just as big a fan of some of these other artists as WE are!!!)  kk