Bobby Darin

Songwriters' Hall of Fame Induction

Invitation to Songwriters' Hall of Fame ceremony on June 9, 1999
Inside the invitation
(Courtesy of Harriet Wasser.)

"The greatest thing you will ever learn ... is just to love and be loved in return ..."

On June 9, 1999 Bobby Darin was inducted into the 1999 Songwriters' Hall of Fame in New York City. Bobby was very well deserving of this prestigious honor.

Bobby's music has and will always live on.

Bobby's 1999 Songwriters' Hall of Fame Detailed Song List.

Article from NY Daily News about Bobby's induction.

Letter to Dodd Darin of his father's election into Songwriters' Hall Of Fame.

December 8, 1998

On behalf of all of us on the Board of Directors, it is a pleasure to inform you that the membership of the National Academy of Popular Music has elected Bobby Darin posthumously to the Songwriters' Hall Of Fame. It is an honor well deserved.

His creative works as a songwriter have been enjoyed by audiences throughout the world for decades.

The induction ceremony will take place at our 30th Annual Awards Dinner Wednesday evening June 9, 1999 at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in New York City.

A formal invitation to the event will be forthcoming early spring of 1999. Congratulations!

Bobby Weinstein

Photo courtesy of Harriet Wasser

Billboard magazine ad for Bobby's induction, placed by Dodd Darin,
Steve Blauner, Harriet Wasser and Carlin America.

Carlin America's website

Bobby's Induction

June 9, 1999

Bobby Darin's induction into The Songwriters' Hall of Fame began with a fabulous clip of some of the magical moments from the MPI documentary "Beyond the Song." Then the Mistress of Ceremonies of the gala event, Naomi Judd, who filled in for Diahann Carroll, read a letter from Bobby's dear friend Dick Clark, which read as follows:

"Bobby Darin was one of the most extraordinary and prolific entertainers I have ever known. He revered the songwriting of legends like Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn, Ira Gerswhin, Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, Richard Rogers and in addition Bobby himself wrote over 150 songs.

Though songwriting was just one of his many talents, I am sure he would of treasured the honor of being installed in the Songwriters's Hall of Fame.

On behalf of all of Bobby's admirers, I thank you.

Mr. Dick Clark."

The Best of Friends: Bobby Darin & Dick Clark

After Naomi Judd read Dick Clark's letter, the founder of Atlantic Records Ahmet Ertegun was introduced to speak about Bobby.
For more about Ahmet Ertegun read:
Ahmet Ertegun & Atlantic records

"When I was a kid there was song from a movie sung by Dick Powell in the 1930s and it was called 'Shooting High.' If that were written today, it would probably be about somebody who OD'd on drugs. (Laughter from audience.) But at that time, the lyrics went something like this:

'I'm shooting high,
 got my eye on a star in the sky.
 I'm shooting high, 
I'll never stop,
'til I get to the top.
Tell me why I'm shooting high.'

... and that's really the story of Bobby Darin when I first knew him. (Applause from audience.)

Bobby in an Atlantic recording session

Bobby was a person with endless ambition and a great desire to win. He loved show business. It was in his blood and in his soul. He loved music, he was a really great musician.

In those early days of Atlantic Records, we had very few pop hits. The only thing we had that resembled pop hits were some of our R&B hits that crossed over. In those days very few of us, 3 or 4 people, ran the label. Miriam Beinstock is with us tonight (in the audience) and she was there when Bobby Darin came to Atlantic. Miriam, please stand up for a moment. (Applause from audience.) She is a lady that without whom Atlantic records would not of survived.

The person who signed up Bobby Darin, everybody thinks it was me, but it was Herb Abramson. Herb had bought four masters that two entrepreneurs from the south had recorded with a young man we had never heard of. Herb bought those four masters and he released two records, both of which failed. During this time, Bobby used to come up to our office and very often Herb kept him waiting, since the records were flops and he wasn't that interested (laughter from audience) so Bobby would wait in the waiting room, which was outside my office where there was an upright piano. I could hear through the door Bobby playing songs by Ray Charles or some originals that he had, which has nothing to do with the flop records we'd put out. (More laughter.) I thought they were fantastic and I used to go in and talk to him and he played me songs and we became friends. So after those two records flopped Herb said, "I think we better drop this artist (Bobby)," and I said "No, no, no ... I've heard a lot with him and I want to try one session." We did one split date where we had a girl jazz singer who cut a couple of songs and Bobby Darin came in and recorded 3 songs (on April 10, 1958) all of which were hits, one of them being "Splish Splash." (Applause from audience.)

In those days, Bobby was very poor. He came from a poor family with a single mother ... and he had an incredible drive to make something of himself. I could talk for a long time about Bobby Darin, because he was one of my great friends and favorite artists. Bobby was one of many young Rock & Roll singers. There were quite a few artists, I won't name them all, you know who they were, but of those only a couple were able to make a shift into a different kind of music. I think that Paul Anka was one, but more than anyone, Bobby Darin was the one who really showed that he could do another kind of music.

Because Bobby came from a rock and roll background and he loved Rhythm & Blues, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, and all that music, he was not really accepted by the people around Sinatra. One of these reasons I think is that because he was one who really could make hits singing with that kind of music ... he was brash, sometimes arrogant, but he owned the stage. He was a fantastic performer a great dancer, a great singer, great musician and a great composer ... I produced all his records at Atlantic until he went to Capitol and we had a succession of hits. He would sit down and play me a lot of songs and out of 20 songs, we would pick 3 or 4 that he would record.

Ahmet Ertegun & Bobby Darin

I just hired Phil Spector as my assistant (Laughter from audience.) and we went to Bobby Darin's house. Phil said, "What are we gonna do?" and I said, "The first project is we're gonna record Bobby Darin." So he said, "Great." So we went over to his house and by this time, Bobby had a beautiful house in Beverly Hills, with a swimming pool and a butler. We arrived there and he had his guitar and I introduced him to Phil Spector and he barely said hello to him (Laughter from audience.) and then he started playing a few songs. He started playing me a song called "Jailer Bring Me Water." So he started singing: (Mr.Ertegun begins to sing.)

"Jailer, bring me wah-ter,
Jailer, bring me wah-ter
Jailer, bring me wah-ter
I think I'm gonna die."

Bobby singing "Jailer Bring Me Water."

I said, "Well, that's great. What else have you got?" (Laughter from the audience.) So after he sung two or three songs, and I said, "That's great, that's great, but what else have you got?" (Laughter from the audience.) Because eventually he would come up with a big hit. After the third song, Phil Spector looked at me and said, "Are you crazy or am I? These songs stink!" Bobby said, "Who is this S.O.B? Get him out of here!" (Laughter from the audience.) Then we left, of course. From then on, I just worked with Bobby alone (More laughter from the audience.) but a year or so later, Bobby said to me, "We've been doing very well, but there are some of these young kid producers who are really terrific. Do you think you could work with one of them?" I said, "Who do you mean?" He said, "Well, I heard this guy Phil Spector's very hot," and I said, "That's the guy you threw out!" and he said "Oh, boy ..." (More laughter from the audience.)

Anyway, I could go on forever, but I won't. Bobby was truly one of the most creative artists of our time. He was also one of the most wonderful human beings that I had ever known. He was taken from us far too soon, but he left an indelible mark not only on my life and the life of Atlantic Records, but on the life of modern music. It gives me great pleasure to induct my friend Bobby Darin into the Songwriters Hall of Fame." (Applause from the audience, as the orchestra plays "Beyond the Sea.")

Bobby and his friends at Atlantic Records:
L-R: Jerry Wexler, Charles Koppleman, Bobby,
Don Rubin, Ahmet & Nesuhi Ertegun

Gary Walden and Ahmet Ertegun.
Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony.

"It's unbelievable ... what you can do ..."

Below is Dodd Darin's acceptance speech, which was made for his father's posthumous induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The letter was read at the ceremony, by Bobby Darin's brother Gary Walden, who eloquently said before reading:

"This is too much ... unbelievable! It's hard to put into words how great Bobby was, it sounds like your saying too much but Bobby truly was a great performer. It's unbelievable how much he accomplished in 37 short years. That's all he was here. I'm 43 years old and its unbelievable how he squeezed so much out of that short period of time.

I know that Bobby would be thrilled to receive this award, because songwriting was so meaningful to him, it was another aspect of his career that he truly loved, and to be inducted into this great Hall of Fame would of really thrilled him."

While I have been and always will be uncomfortable trying to speak for him, I think it is fair to say that my father would have viewed this induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame to be the finest professional honor he could receive. It is one thing for a vocalist to interpret the lyrics of others; it is quite another to reach deep down within and create from an absolutely blank page. To be included with the incredibly talented people inducted this year and those who came before is something quite special. My humble attempts in this simple note have left me with a profound new respect for writers of every medium.

To those responsible for my father being selected; you have my deepest gratitude and appreciation. To Steve Blauner, Harriet Wasser, Ahmet Ertegun, Wayne Newton, the late Sammy Davis Jr., Dick and Micky Behrke, Dick Clark, Linda Johnson, James Scalia, Alison Passarelli and of course our family, the late Charles and Nina Maffia, Gary Walden, Vivi Walden and Vana Maffia, I share this evening with you as I know he would have. Some of you were with him during his lifetime; some of you have been wonderful to me and my family in helping to perpetuate his legacy. All of you have contributed something from the heart and two generations of Darin's are indebted to you all.

My regret is a simple one and that of course is that my father is not here to share this acknowledgment with all of you, his peers. Hopefully he would have comfortable with the sentiments I have expressed; they are certainly heartfelt. He would have phrased it better than I, but then again he did have a way with words didn't he?

Dad, I miss you and am so very proud.

Dodd Darin

Following the reading of Dodd's letter, Gary concluded Bobby's induction by saying "And I was proud to be Bobby's brother. Thank you very much."
Photo courtesy of Dodd Darin

Special thanks to Dodd Darin, Harriet Wasser, Jimmy Scalia, Bobby Weinstein,
Vinnie Marinello and Andy Stein for their contributions to this page.

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