Skip to content

Dean Martin Existentialism: Bobby Darin’s “Beautiful Things”

“Why the Nightingale Sings: On Bobby Darin’s ‘Beautiful Things'”: HERE.

Attention-Conservation Keywords: Dr. Dolittle, “Dean Martin existentialism,” memento mori in the cocktail lounge, lovers with wings, the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche, Roland Barthes’s concept of the “punctum,” the nightingale as symbol, Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee, “Sailing to Byzantium” by W.B. Yeats.

B.DarinVegas1960

TEASER:

Isn’t there something unsettling, a sly wink of Dean Martin existentialism, in Bobby Darin’s finger-poppin’ Vegas-hipster version of “Beautiful Things” (from the 1967 movie musical Doctor Dolittle)? A hint of nonchalant menace to that walking bassline as it slinks down a minor scale in the song’s opening bars? Subliminal whispers of memento mori amid the brassy blare of Roger Kellaway’s orchestral setting, which nails that sweet spot between suave and schmaltzy? Intimations of mortality between the lines of Leslie Bricusse’s lyrics about “beautiful days of sun-kissed showers” and “beautiful nights of moon-kissed hours,” right there in Darin’s breezy delivery of the lines, “Our lives tick by like pendulum swings/ Delicate things, butterfly wings?”

Post a Comment

Please register in order to comment. (You won’t be spammed.) If you already have a Shovelware account, sign in to comment. Caveat Scriptor: Obscene, inane, ad hominem, or spam-ish comments will be vaporized.