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I met Bobby when I was 16 at the St. Moritz Hotel in New York, I think it was 1961. He was my idol when I was growing up. He was one of my heroes. I think Bobby is an awesome, all-around talent.

I used to go to his shows at the Copa Cabana and watch every show. I had an uncle who worked there as maitre d'. I would sit on the sound console and watch Bobby's every move. He influenced me so much.

One time, Bobby took off his tie, which was gold, and gave it to me. He said, "Use that in your first publicity photo." My first publicity shot features Bobby's gold tie.

I recorded one of his songs, "I'll Be There" on Epic Records, and Bobby himself played piano for the song. What a thrill!

When I recorded "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree," I tried to do it as if it were Bobby singing. In 1975, I accepted our American Music Award in memory of Bobby Darin. After the show, Roger Miller came up to me and said, "When I sang 'King of the Road,' I was trying to sound like Bobby too!"

I never met his son, who does a fine job of running the estate. I did meet Sandy, his wife. I remember watching Bobby sit on the floor and try to create a new Monopoly game centered around show business with Sandy. I don't know whatever happened to it.

I never played chess with Bobby, although I did watch him play.

What should someone know about Bobby? If someone wants to learn how to use their voice in different ways, they should study Bobby. Bobby could sing the Blues, he could sing Country, he could sing Jazz and R&B. Bobby was a chameleon. He could find places in the throat nobody else could. He sang eclectic styles. There was nothing he couldn't do, nothing he couldn't tackle. He could have taught a course on singing, from classic to country. He could do it all.

Tony Orlando


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