Sitting in on a Bobby Darin Recording Session

Bobby and Hesh at that recording session, 1972

This article, written by Harriet Wasser, appeared in the
June 1973 issue of Hit Parader Songs and Stories Magazine.

Although attending recording sessions is a part of my work, there is no way of knowing in advance how one is going to turn out. This particular session, involving Bobby Darin and Bob Crewe, had special meaning to me as I had previously worked for both of them and had watched each of them record separately many times.

Actually, Bob and Bobby had met many years ago, but the opportunity for them to work together had not come up until both had signed with Motown Records, Bobby as an artist and Bob as a producer. The song that was to bring them together was "Happy" from Lady Sings the Blues. This was a different kind of song for Bobby, who had not recorded a big ballad in a number of years. However, Bob was convinced that he could sing it and made the suggestion to the powers that be at Motown that he produce the record with Bobby. Plans were immediately made for Bob to fly to New York from Hollywood to record Bobby, who was just finishing up an engagement at the Copacabana, so that the single could be rushed out on the market.

It is times like these that a person like myself gets to see how much work must be put into a recording session. The session was booked at Media Sound Studios in New York. The session was to be done with full orchestra meaning that Bhen Lazaroni, who arranged it, had to hire almost 40 musicians. By the time Bobby arrived at the studio, Bhen had run through the arrangement several times. Once he and Bob were satisfied with what they heard in the control room, Bobby was asked to go into the vocal booth and record along with the orchestra. This is not generally done today in that in most cases the singer puts his voice down after the music is recorded. Very few singers today do not track their vocals although Tony Bennett is one who insists on recording at the same time as the orchestra. The situation worked out particularly well for Bobby as he had to leave New York the next day and it meant Bob could have a finished record within a couple of days.

Sessions are not always exciting, but they can be most exhilarating when all the components are right. The only thing one can be sure of when they attend a Bobby Darin recording session is that he knows exactly what he wants to get out of a performance. The man is a perfectionist. As for Bob Crewe, no producer can claim that he gets more out of his musicians than he does. No producer enjoys his work more or gives of himself as much as he does when he produces a session. If this first session was any indication of the compatibility between Bobby Darin and Bob Crewe in a recording session, we can look forward to them working together in the future.


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