Thursday, September 23, 2021

“Once Upon a Time,” as Sung by Bobby Darin (The Best Solo Version!)

[“‘Once Upon a Time,’ a Beautiful Song from a Broadway Show that a New York City Newspaper Strike Killed, a Strike Which also Killed so Much Else.”]

By Nicholas Stix

This song should be sung as a duet, but Bobby Darin’s live version is by far the best solo version.

The 29-year-old Darin sang it like an old man. He also sang it like a Broadway performer who is embodying a character. He seems to be fighting back tears.

None of the other versions I’ve heard, by some of the world’s greatest singers—Sinatra, Bennett, Jones—could capture the song’s emotional power. They sang it like it was a job of work. Bobby Darin sang it, as if it were his life.

Then again, he was an old man, who knew that with his ticker, he could drop dead at any moment. And seven years later, at the age of 37, he did.

The first, live Darin version below, I find much more moving. However, he stumbles on some of the lyrics, including occasionally singing too many beats. The second, studio version is much more polished, but too cool. I have no idea why the album was called Pure Gold. Neither Darin nor anyone else ever scored a gold record with this song.

Bobby Darin: “Once Upon a Time”

Jan Hammer

Written by: Lee Adams/Charles Strouse Produced by: Bobby Darin Arranged by: Shorty Rodgers Orchestra conducted by: Shorty Rodgers Appears on: In a Broadway Bag LP Recorded: May 10, 1966 Released: June 1966

Bobby Darin: Pure Gold


Anonymous said...

jerry pdx
I did enjoy his biopic "Beyond the Sea" starring Kevin Spacey. However, I saw it before Kevin Spacey was disgraced, and while I was aware of the rumors of his sexuality, I didn't know just how perverted a homosexual he really was. It was probably better to see him play Darin without that in the back of your mind. Even then, it's still worth a watch.

Anonymous said...

Sinatra HAD to have sung this--right?That's his kind of song.I didn't look it up,but if he didn't,I'd be shocked.


Nicholas said...

Jerry PDX,

I ordered the pic just minutes before reading your comment. I found a recording to Spacey doing Darin singing this song. If Spacey isn't the world's most talented, living impressionist, he's got to be up there.

As for the sexual rumors about him, I'm a master of compartmentalization. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to enjoy anything from these people.

Nicholas said...

Sinatra sang it, but poorly. Or at least, it's a poor record. The arrangement sounded very familiar--either the arranger cannibalized it later, or this was cannibalized--and the music was much too loud, drowning out Sinatra.