Artificial (and as of yet, unpublished) Flowers

While surfing the web for cool Boby Darin images (yes, I actually am THAT much of a geek), I stumbled across a pretty interesting site devoted to him. One that welcomed submissions for content, reviews, swooning, etc.

I figured, “what the hell, I’m a make-believe writer. I’ll whip something up and send it on in. I think they’ll like it.”

To date, they’ve never even attempted to respond to me.

So, seeing as I don’t want this one to go to waste, I’m posting it here instead. Just consider it a reblog of sorts, of a post that never was blogged originally – cool?

•••

At first, I was a nobody. Well, weren’t we all? I mean you have to start somewhere, and “nobody” is pretty much that spot. I spent a good many years as a nobody, trying on a variety of personas along the way. I thought I had found my niche when I first heard heavy metal, but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon punk rock, that I truly hit my stride. As these things go, from punk I was eventually lured into Goth and, as the girls were prettier, I spent a few years there before once again moving on.

By the time I was packed off to Okinawa, I was no longer a Goth in its truest vein (pun intended), which is good. It’s good, because in Okinawa, karaoke is a national past time. A mandatory one, especially if you had any friends who were locals, that you wanted to spend time with. And over there and then, gothic songs were most decidedly not on the sing-along play list.

But Bobby Darin was. Well, his version of “Mack The Knife,” at any rate. And, since it was the only song I was comfortable singing – as I felt I could mimic his bravado of the finger-poppin’ persuasion – this was to be my karaoke-going tune of choice all the while I was stationed over there. Years later, I made mention of this to my wife who – still regretting her words till this day – suggested that I should give Darin’s other stuff a spin, as I might enjoy it. “Might.”  Some sixteen years later, and after a mad journey to scrounge up each and every thing the man ever recorded, I can safely say, “I LIKE it!”

So, I’ve been digging him for all these years now, and like many other fans, I know all the words to all the songs. Unlike many other fans, I also named my blog after one of his best, “As Long As I’m Singing.” I did so not only because of the song itself, but also due to the idea that it offers up, the idea that no matter what, you can always be positive. It’s your choice. You know, like the man said, as long as that band don’t desert you, then there’s nothing in the world – the whole entire world – that can ever hurt you. Pretty awesome. Pretty inspiring. Pretty odd. Especially when considering the lyrical content to so many of his other tunes.

What? Oh yeah, here’s where the whole Goth topic comes back into play. You see, I noticed that, for whatever reason, BD seemed to have a habit of slapping really gloomy lyrics over a hepcat-poppy, go-daddy-go beat. “Mack” is an obvious example of this, but better contenders might be “Clementine,” “That’s How It Went, All Right” and “Artificial Flowers” (my youngest’ absolute favorite Darin tune of all time). My personal fave is “Goodbye Charlie.” Again, a solid gold crooner Gothic classic, if ever there was one.

So after giving this epiphany some thought, I decided that I’m going to make a mix tape. Well, a mix CD actually. But I always call them mix tapes, because “mix tape” just sounds cooler. Besides, it cheeses the wife when I do so. So it’s a win-win. Regardless, I’m going to make a mix tape, and I’m going to call it “Bobby Darin: Original Gothic.” I’m going to do so for my own enjoyment of course, but I am also going to do so to help prove a point. The point being this: I feel that Bobby Darin did more for music than most or all of his contemporaries ever did. More than he gets recognized for at least.

More importantly, I feel that he did even more for the musicians that followed, as a result of his efforts. He helped to open the artistic floodgates so to speak. He let other artists know that it’s OK to dump an old persona and create a wholly different one. To break out of your comfort zone, try something new. Even if that something might not be well received by the general public. Even if that something could be perceived as downright creepy. And he did it all while being cool. Finger-poppin’ cool.

And yeah, I’m including in the above assessment that time when he dropped his wig and the “by” from “Bobby” as well. That cat could do it all, not because he was that good (even though he was), but because he was that driven to do it all. And do it all, he did. Even if he didn’t realize it. Hell, he was Goth at least 19 years before Joy Division ever threw open the doors on that scene. Pretty damned impressive, if you ask me.

And me? Well as a middle-aged, middle-classed father of three, I suppose I’m a nobody again. But this time, and as a result of Bobby’s advise, I don’t care. This time, I’ve got my band. And, as it doesn’t appear that they’ll be deserting me anytime soon, this time the world’s all right. This time in fact, everything is swingin’… long as I’m singing my song.

© t – 2o12

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14 thoughts on “Artificial (and as of yet, unpublished) Flowers

    • Agreed. But he knew he was going to, and – musically at any rate – with that knowledge, he made every day count. He’s the only artist I know where you can actually hear the urgency in every word!

    • I gotta tell you, if it weren’t for “Goodbye Charlie,” “More” and “Beyond The Sea,” this one would be my all time BD favorite!

      You know what I’m saying when I tell you that – for me – his stuff is so good, it’s juicy!

  1. I have to admit, I really haven’t heard that much of Bobby Darin’s stuff (*hanging head in shame*). But I do LOVE that shiny-suit, big-band, finger-popping music. Ain’t Love a Kick in the Head was the first-kiss song at my wedding, and wholly appropriate. I rocked my kids to sleep singing Fly Me to the Moon, and they both know all the words to all the Temptations’ hits by heart. I guess it’s time to expand our repertoire :-)

    • LOVE “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head!” One of the few tunes Dean Martin actually ever wrote himself I believe. Did you use his version or Sammy Davis Jr’s at your wedding?

      Hope you enjoy expanding your musical options!

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