Bobby Darin may have started his career as a teen idol singing a lightweight variation on rock & roll, but he was determined not to stay there. During a career that was cut short by his death in 1973 due to heart disease, Darin established himself as a canny interpreter of standards while also showing he had a knack for rhythm & blues, country, folk, and even protest numbers. Darin was one of the strongest and most eclectic entertainers of his day, and Icon delivers a suitably wide-ranging sampling of his music. Most of the tracks on Icon date from Darin's tenure with Capitol and Motown Records, so his early hits for Atlantic are not included (the performances of "Mack the Knife" and "Beyond the Sea" come from a late-career live album, as does "Simple Song of Freedom"), but "More" and "Call Me Irresponsible" show his mastery of a pop standard, "Treat My Baby Good" recalls his early rock hits but with a more polished feel, "18 Yellow Roses" has a light Latin undercurrent, and "If I Were a Carpenter" demonstrated he could keep up with pop trends in the '60s without losing his footing. And if the live versions of some of his biggest hits are here mainly because it was cheaper than licensing the more familiar recordings, they offer a taste of the nightclub show that made him one of the biggest draws in Vegas, and it's clear Darin knew how to turn it on in front of an audience. Icon is far from the best Bobby Darin collection you can buy, but these 11 songs (sold at a budget price) do show just how versatile he was, and that's no small accomplishment.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming