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.