Full sail with ‘Bobby Darin: Directions — A Listener’s Guide’ word slinger Shane Brown

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A watercolor-worthy 1959 portrait finds a royal blue-clad Bobby Darin on top of the world alongside a Las Vegas swimming pool. Photography by Lawrence Schiller / Polaris Communications

The Shane Brown Interview

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According to Shane Brown’s Amazon author’s page, his first book, the young adult novel "Breaking Point," was published in 2013. The sequel, entitled “Breaking Down,” is also available. Brown's other fiction books are the young adult fantasy-cum-ghost story "A Ghost of a Chance" and "The Successor," a retelling of “The Picture of Dorian Gray” set on a university campus in the year 2000. Shane's non-fiction writing includes substantial "Listener's Guides" to Elvis Presley and Bobby Darin and a book on queer images in films from 1894-1934. He is also the editor of "Silent Voices," which pulls together print interviews with silent film stars first published in the 1910's and 1920's. Brown lives in Norwich, England, and has a PhD in film and television from the University of East Anglia. Image Credit: Courtesy of Shane Brown
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Elvis Presley’s infamous September 3, 1973, closing show where he chastised Conrad Hilton for attempting to fire a waiter friend named Mario, much to Colonel Tom Parker’s chagrin, during the middle of a sold-out show at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel is immortalized on the book cover of “Elvis Presley: A Listener’s Guide,” written by Shane Brown and released independently via Amazon on July 10, 2014. Presley is wearing the 1973 Arabian jumpsuit, which was soon nicknamed the Memphis jumpsuit after he wore it during the show captured on the “Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis” album. Thanks to For Elvis CD Collectors message board user “Dr. John Carpenter” for confirming the exact date. Photography by Laurens van Houten / appears in the book “Elvis: Caught in a Trap” by Arjan Deelan and Laurens van Houten / Courtesy of Shane Brown; At right, Presley is innocently forlorn in this striking backstage black and white photo taken on May 27, 1956, at the University of Dayton Fieldhouse in Dayton, Ohio. Brown reveals, “It was chosen as the cover shot of ‘Reconsider Baby: Elvis Presley — A Listener’s Guide 2nd Edition’ purely because it looked good!” Photography by Marvin Israel / Courtesy of Shane Brown
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A 1957 or 1958 publicity still of Bobby Darin was used for the first edition cover of “Bobby Darin: A Listener’s Guide,” published independently via Amazon on October 15, 2015. Image Credit: Courtesy of Shane Brown; For the whopping 463-page second edition entitled “Bobby Darin: Directions — A Listener’s Guide,” dropped on December 19, 2018, the cover shot “is from one of Bobby’s three appearances on the syndicated ‘Della!’ TV show,” says researcher Shane Brown [either August 11, 1969, November 12, 1969, or January 28, 1970, according to BobbyDarin.net]. “People keep telling me it’s ‘The Mike Douglas Show’ but it’s not! That one was chosen specifically because I wanted a Darin picture from his late ’60s singer-songwriter era to help demonstrate that this wasn’t a straightforward biography, and that it would look at things in a slightly different way.” Image Credit: Everett Collection / Alamy / Courtesy of Shane Brown
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Just five months back from his Army hitch as a sergeant stationed with the 3rd Armored Division in Germany, 25-year-old Elvis Presley and pipe-carrying 24-year-old Bobby Darin were part of the special guest lineup at a surprise birthday party George Burns gave for his wife and comedy partner Gracie Allen at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas on July 26, 1960. Darin’s post-”Beyond the Sea” singles distributed throughout the remainder of that year — “Clementine,” “Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey,” and “Artificial Flowers” — faltered a bit, failing to move beyond the Top 20. On the other hand, just a few weeks earlier the King of Rock ’n’ Roll delivered “It’s Now or Never” b/w “A Mess of Blues,” his second A-side released post-Army and perhaps his greatest vocal waxed to vinyl. Nine years later Presley delivered an off the cuff, albeit infectious rendering of Darin’s “I’ll Be There,” coincidentally the B-side of “Bill Bailey,” with producer Chips Moman and the Memphis Boys at American Sound Studio. If anyone knows what type of tie Presley is sporting, comment below! Image Credit: For Elvis CD Collectors message board / Popperfoto / Getty Images
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As conflicted Sheriff Cal Wayne, a firm, black-hatted Bobby Darin sits atop a horse in “Gunfight in Abilene,” the musician’s final theatrical starring role. Released in March 1967, Darin composed and sang the William Hale-directed western’s theme song “Amy” over the opening credits. Image Credit: Universal Pictures / Western Movies Forum [France] user Abilène
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“Talk to the Animals,” an Australian Bobby Darin EP from February 1968 compiling the title cut, “She Knows,” “Lady Fingers,” and a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Back Street Girl.” This very same photo, featuring an appropriate black doctor’s bag, stethoscope, top hat, and double-headed white llama, served as the cover of the “Bobby Darin Sings Dr. Doolittle” studio album unleashed six months earlier on Atlantic Records. Image Credit: 45Cat user Deutros / The Bobby Darin Estate
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“Well I’ve been too busy listenin’ to what everybody else had to say:” A mustachioed Bobby Darin grants an interview upon his arrival in Sydney, Australia, for a season performing at the Chevron Hotel on November 19, 1968. Note the trendy jeans jacket and black leather hat resting on the entertainer’s knee, possibly the same hat he wore on the “Commitment” cover issued a year later. Image Credit: Fairfax Media / Getty Images; At right, presenting the innovative cover of “Bobby Darin Born Walden Robert Cassotto,” the activist’s debut LP unleashed on his own Direction label in July 1968. Darin notably composed all nine cuts, yet the record never had a chance with deejays and the general public. Image Credit: The Bobby Darin Estate / Amazon
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“I guess I’m just a rock and roll singer tryin’ to find my way:” Literally turning his back on snobby record execs who thought he was nuts to abandon his greatest hits and re-brand himself as a denim-clad, funky folk rocker, here is the front and rear cover of Bobby Darin’s “Commitment,” released in July 1969. This is the United Kingdom LP edition of “Commitment.” According to Shane Brown, “My understanding is that the USA edition was a gatefold effort, with the back being the rest of the front cover image [i.e. Bobby’s lower body and legs].” The second and final album on the multi-faceted singer’s own Direction label, all 10 cuts, including A-sides “Song for a Dollar” and “Distractions [Part One]”, were written and arranged under the moniker of “Bob Darin.” Photography by Martin Singer / The Klaus Hiltscher Collection / Flickr / The Bobby Darin Estate
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Bobby Darin casually records a lead vocal at MoWest, Motown’s California recording studio on Romaine Street that only existed for a couple of years, for the cover of the self-titled “Bobby Darin” album, distributed by Motown to commercial indifference in August 1972. Up next is “Darin: 1936–1973,” the artist’s first posthumous studio album released in February 1974 by Motown. In spite of eight unreleased sides plus “Sail Away” [recycled from the self-titled 1972 LP] and an extended version of the “Happy” single being assembled by Four Seasons producer Bob Crewe, it rose no higher than No. 204 POP during its six-week chart run. “Darin: 1936–1973” remains the final Darin album to chart on Billboard. It had been seven years since he had seen any Billboard stats — the “If I Were a Carpenter” album debuted on February 11, 1967, reaching No. 142 POP. Photography by Jim Britt / Universal Music Group / The Klaus Hiltscher Collection / Flickr
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Bobby Darin is surrounded by Atlantic Records executives Jerry Wexler, Nesuhi Ertegun, and Ahmet Ertegun in this circa 1965 snapshot. Photography by William “PoPsie” Randolph/ Atlantic Records Archives
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“Somewhere beyond the sea, somewhere waiting for me, my lover stands on golden sands, and watches the ships that go sailin’:” Onstage most likely in 1971 or 1972 during his Motown Records tenure, Bobby Darin sheds his tuxedo jacket and tie for an intimate Las Vegas crowd. Photography by Bill Crespinel / Globe Photos / Image Collect
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“I’ll be there when all your dreams are broken, to answer your unspoken prayer.” In his early twenties, multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter Bobby Darin stands on a brick patio in the late 1950s when “Splish Splash,” “Queen of the Hop,“ “Dream Lover,” and “Mack the Knife” were storming the charts while admirer Elvis Presley was ensconced in the Army. Image Credit: Pinterest user Chiara Parsley
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“Hurry! Ends Saturday. Bobby Darin with a 23-piece orchestra first in the parade of superstars in the elegant, new Mr. D’s, San Francisco’s finest show room!” A vintage advertisement from the California engagement Bobby Darin was doing when he learned that Democratic presidential hopeful and compadre Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated just six hours south of San Francisco at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 6, 1968. Image Credit: Courtesy of Shane Brown
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In a dark blue pin-striped jacket, light blue shirt, and dark blue bowtie, Bobby Darin is seen in a studio portrait publicizing “The Bobby Darin Show,” which aired 13 episodes between January 19 and April 27, 1973. Decades later the shot appeared as the cover of “Another Song on My Mind: The Motown Years,” a 2-CD set issued on May 6, 2016, compiling the “Bobby Darin” and “Darin: 1936–1973” albums plus bonus material. Image Credit: Freetown Collection / Cache Agency / Real Gone Music
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A colorized shot of a self-assured Bobby Darin at home in Beverly Hills in 1971 was used for the CD cover of “Go Ahead and Back Up: The Lost Motown Masters,” distributed by Real Gone Music on July 13, 2018. Photography by Bob Willoughby / Redferns / Real Gone Music / The Trémolo LeLaboratoire Collection; As far as the back cover photo, Shane Brown reveals, “There is some debate about when this candid was taken. It’s generally thought to be from a tour of Australia in late November 1968, but the query comes because the press photos and TV appearances from that visit have him with a mustache. But the hair and sideburns suggest it is from the late 1960s. It is actually rather heavily photoshopped — the original picture has a large, hairy, shirtless man sitting behind Bobby on the boat!” Image Credit: The Susan Johnson Côté Collection / Real Gone Music / Bear Family Records
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Flip, flop, Bobby’s doin’ the bop: Circa August 18, 1960, during the time frame when he waxed the Top 20 jazz hits “Artificial Flowers” and “Lazy River,” Bobby Darin is seen passionately playing piano. Image Credit: Globe Photos / ZUMA Press
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“ I wanna dream lover, so I don’t have to dream alone:” Cradling an acoustic Martin guitar, Bobby Darin intensely stares into the camera lens at the apex of his fame in 1959. Image Credit: Michael Ochs Archives / Hubbard Radio Phoenix

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Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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