Friday, June 17, 2011

Six Greatest Upbeat, Cheerful Bobby Darin Songs About Violent Death

Oh, Bobby.

Bobby Darin liked fast songs. If songs weren't fast -- he enjoyed speeding them up (compare Bobby's "On The Street Where You Live" to the film version sometime: HILARIOUS). This is not to say he didn't brilliantly sing many slow songs, because he did. It's just he was so utterly Bobby with his fast-paced, snapping songs.

He also, THOROUGHLY, enjoyed songs about people dying. According to Bobby, clearly songs about violent death must always be sung cheerfully. And he's so darn cheerful, most of time you don't realize that you're tapping your foot to the detailed description of someone being done in by a serial killer.


6) "Clementine"

In Bobby's interpretation of "Oh My Darling Clementine," the title female weighs 299 pounds and a bridge breaks while she's walking on it -- plunging her into the river below. She immediately sinks and drowns, with the narrator watching. He explains himself by saying:

I thought that she was doin' fine
I wasn't nervous
Not until the service
That they held
For Clementine.

Poor Clem...

5) "Artificial Flowers"

This song contains genuinely gripping social commentary. Any self-respecting crooner would sing slowly, letting each phrase and word sink in -- perfectly guilting the listener. Not Bobby. He just states the facts: nine year-old Annie is an orphan who survives by making artificial flowers for rich ladies to wear. She is found one day frozen to death. That's that. As Bobby happily dances by, he does stop to declare:

There must be a heaven where little Annie can play
In heavenly gardens and bowers.
And instead of a halo she'll wear 'round her head
A garland of genuine flowers.

That's cool at least. CONSOLATION PRIZE, ANNIE! Yay! ;-D

4) "That's How It Went, All Right"

This is quite the dramatic stuff. Jealous guy kills girlfriend. The girl can't get away from the knife and the guy can't stop himself. Afterward, he sets her down and watches her white dress turn red with blood. Bobby fully acts out the scene and dances along cheerfully! Might I also mention that this scene was Bobby's film-debut.

I love Bobby. He was crazy.

3) "Goodbye Charlie"

Bobby doesn't even pretend to care that someone's been shot and killed in this song. AND IT'S HIS BEST FRIEND. He mumbles some false sentiment about missing Charlie and feeling low, just before gleefully singing:
Goodbye... Charlie
Cashin' in your chips

Note to everyone: Bobby would be awesome to have as friend. He's always there to cheer you up and you CAN LITERALLY NEVER DEPRESS HIM. Be aware though, that he will care very little when you die; even less if you haven't left him some sort of financial aid.

The song wasn't on YouTube, but you can listen to it here.

2) "Mack the Knife"

MacHeath, babe, is quite the incomparable killer. He never takes away a trace of blood and knows the exact amount of cement to weigh a body down. People are disappearing left and right....which means.... LOOK OUT! OLD MACKY'S BACK IN TOWN! The main death highlighted in this song is that of Louie Miller. Poor fool.

1) "Gyp the Cat"

I consider this to be Bobby's sequel to "Mack the Knife" and really, the lesser song. HOWEVER, I like Gyp the character better than Mack the character. Mack seems to be quite proficient at his job of killing, but Gyp seems to just enjoy it. And Gyp doesn't stop at murder. He dabbles in extortion, bank robbery, burglary, pick-pocketing -- everything is cool with him. He even pretends to have a funeral for himself and shows up at that very funeral as his "twin brother" and proceeds to pick the pockets of the mourners at his funeral. THERE'S A GUY who cheerfully enjoys his work as much as Bobby cheerfully enjoys singing about it.

Oh, and those BRILLIANT opening lines:

Where those bayou's wind
And them gators swim
Sometime late last night
When the moon was dim
Someone left this life
Much against his will
And while Gyp the Cat was alibi-in'
You know his clothes were dryin'

Listen to it here.

And there you have the definitive six upbeat and cheerful Bobby Darin songs about violent deaths. What are your favorites (mentioned or not)?



Lobosco said...

Great article! I love Darin's Artificial Flowers but it is so sad and depressing if you really listen to the lyrics, but oh what a beat!

Raquelle said...


I don't think I've ever SEEN a performance of Clementine. That's my favorite Upbeat, Cheerful Bobby Darin Song about Death. Second is Artificial Flowers.

Whoops dropped her in! To the foamy brine. :-)

I do all the sound effects to Clementine. ALL OF THEM. Bubbles and everything. And I can sing it from memory. That's how much I love that song.

Bobby Darin was the best singer ever. EVER!

Meredith said...

This is genius.

Niamhy said...

This could possibly be the best post ever written.


And Gyp The Cat is just the coolest. ;-P

Kristin said...

This post cracked me up...I'm a new Bobby Darin fan, and I haven't heard of most of these songs. Then again, I tend to avoid violent lyrics, but you have me so intrigued that I might have to listen to a couple of them. :)


Anonymous said...

THIS is why I'm terrified of Bobby Darin. At the same time, I enjoy watching him -- especially in 'That's How It Went, All Right'. It's probably quite unhealthy, actually. BUT I REFUSE TO EVER AGAIN LISTEN TO MACK THE KNIFE.

I'm going to go hide under me bed for a couple of days I think...

Millie said...

Lobosco: Haha! That's Bobby's gift. You don't even listen to the lyrics because you are so caught up in the music!

Raquelle: I LOVE YOU TOO. haha

Bobby is ALWAYS more fun to watch than listen. He's utterly brilliant to listen to, but he adds so much to his performances!

I love Bobby's WHOOPS! in this performance!

That is dedication. Clementine is awesome.

Meredith: Bobby is genius. ;-D


Gyp is bloody awesome.

Kristin: Oooh, as a new Bobby fan -- you have so much awesomeness to discover! haha. I'm a longtime fan, but I discover new music all the time.

Yeah, it's odd. I don't listen to violent music -- but Bobby is so cheerful! ;-D

Emm: Turn your fear into constructive fangirl obsession. You won't regret it. ;-D

Anonymous said...

Great collection of uptempo Darin performances, thanks!

Anonymous said...


Hamlette said...

Just randomly reading back through your old Bobby Darin posts to cheer me up this morning, and awww, I love all these songs! I always kind of thought Gyp was Bobby gently mocking the song that made him so famous.

But I always figured that Gyp had a twin brother who got bumped off in his stead. Which is even more twisted than your interpretation...

Leslie Price Martinich said...

From the time he was a child, Bobby Darin knew that he would die young. In these songs, he takes death head on. I've always loved the way he just socks it to death.


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