Strangely Darin wasn’t certain of his legendary track when he demoed it for his bosses at Atlantic Records, but it became a huge hit and earned him more creative control as a songwriter and artist. The version of Dream Lover I prefer more than any other is the Demo version (take 5) below. Darin wrote this song about a guy who wishes and prays for the girl of his dreams to come to him so that he doesn’t have to dream alone. I think it’s one of the sweetest tunes I’ve heard.
Every night I hope and pray
A dream lover will come my way
A girl to hold in my arms
And know the magic of her charms
‘Cause I want (yeah-yeah, yeah)
A girl (yeah-yeah, yeah)
To call (yeah-yeah, yeah)
My own (yeah-yeah)
I want a dream lover
So I don’t have to dream alone
Darin found his dream lover just a year after this song was released when he married the actress Sandra Dee (pictured above with Darin). In 1962 he won a Golden Globe Award for his first film, Come September, co-starring his wife Sandra Dee. Their union would last until 1967. That’s pretty, pretty, pretty good for two major celebrities. Dee became a teenage star for her performances in Gidget.
Wikipedia states: During the 1960s, he (Bobby Darin) became more politically active and worked on Robert F. Kennedy’s Democratic presidential campaign. He was present on the night of June 4/5, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles at the time of Robert Kennedy’s assassination. During the same year, he discovered the woman who had raised him was his grandmother, not his mother as he thought, and learned that the woman he thought was his sister was actually his mother. Those events deeply affected Darin and sent him into a long period of seclusion.
Darin died just 37 years young after a heart operation. His health was beginning to fail after he made a brief successful comeback in the 1970’s, but he always felt he was vulnerable following bouts of rheumatic fever in childhood which spurred him to use his musical talent while still young. Life for Sandra Dee didn’t go so well also after their divorce when Universal Studios dropped her the same year. In the 1980’s she was marred by alcoholism, mental illness, plus near total reclusiveness, particularly after her mother died in 1988.
This whole backstory including the innocence of the song and what eventuated for both Darin and Dee propels my mind into the outstanding Springsteen song ‘With Every Wish‘ and I’m not even superstitious:
‘…She sighed “Bobby oh Bobby you’re such a fool
Don’t you know before you choose your wish
You’d better think first
‘Cause with every wish there comes a curse“