Me and Bobby D.: A Memoir


(Book). Me and Bobby D. is the exciting coming-of-age story of two teenage boys from the Bronx Steve Karmen and Walden Robert Cassotto who meet in high school, play in the same band, and then form a singing act. The year is 1956, at the dawn of rock and roll, a crossroad in the entertainment business rarely written about. Cassotto changes his name to Bobby Darin, makes his first recording, and he and Karmen are booked on the road for their first job ever as entertainers into Club Temptation, a seedy nightclub in suburban Detroit. This is Bobby

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(Book). Me and Bobby D. is the exciting coming-of-age story of two teenage boys from the Bronx Steve Karmen and Walden Robert Cassotto who meet in high school, play in the same band, and then form a singing act. The year is 1956, at the dawn of rock and roll, a crossroad in the entertainment business rarely written about. Cassotto changes his name to Bobby Darin, makes his first recording, and he and Karmen are booked on the road for their first job ever as entertainers into Club Temptation, a seedy nightclub in suburban Detroit. This is Bobby Darin before "Splish Splash," "Mack, The Knife," "Beyond the Sea" and "Dream Lover"; and Steve Karmen before composing "I Love New York," "This Bud's for You," "Hershey Is the Great American Chocolate Bar" and "Nationwide Is on Your Side." What happens to them during the two-week engagement will alter their friendship, and change both of their lives forever. Steve Karmen has been a composer/lyricist/arranger/producer of advertising music for over 30 years. In addition to the above-mentioned themes, some of his most memorable compositions are: "Here Comes the King (The Budweiser Clydesdale Theme)," "Hertz, We're America's Wheels," "Weekends Were Made for Michelob," "Sooner or Later, You'll Own Generals," "Quality Is Job One Ford," "We Build Excitement Pontiac" and "At the Nevele." He is the recipient of 16 CLIO Awards, the "Oscar" of the advertising industry; the author of Through the Jingle Jungle , the accepted textbook about the industry, published by Billboard Books; and The Jingle Man , a collection of 152 of his jingles, published by Hal Leonard Corporation. Karmen lives in Westchester, NY.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In 1956, an Italian and a Jew from the Bronx meet in high school and formed a band and then a duo act. They go on the road, appear for two weeks in Detroit, and break up. The Italian, Bobby Darin (n Walden Robert Cassotto), becomes the first star to bridge rock, pop, and big band music successfully, while the Jew, Karmen, goes on to compose such jingles as "You Deserve a Break Today," "I Love New York," and "Nationwide Is on Your Side." So goes Karmen's fascinating memoir of his association with Darin. He focuses on those pivotal two weeks in Detroit, where the pair were thrust into the world of mobsters, strippers, dancers, vaudeville comics, and sex, sex, and more sex. A memoir of the emergence of a major talent of the early rock'n'roll era and the coming of age of a major composer of advertising jingles, this book exposes the highs and lows, as well as the loneliness and raunchiness, of life on the road; it is a kiss-and-tell-type book but also a touching story of a friendship that disintegrated and was only rarely rekindled between 1956 and Darin's death in 1973. Karmen writes in a punchy style and has created a real page-turner. Recommended for all public libraries.-James E. Perone, Mount Union Coll., Alliance, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780634080265
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Pages: 434
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Thank You! vii
Tuning Up ix
Overture xi
Part 1 New York, April 1956
Chapter 1 "Wanna be in a band?" 3
Chapter 2 "The phone call" 27
Chapter 3 "Sounds like a dive to me" 41
Chapter 4 "You can count on me, George" 51
Part 2 Detroit, 1956
Chapter 5 "Who did your book?" 69
Chapter 6 "I run a tight show" 97
Chapter 7 "Maybe it's because it's Monday" 103
Chapter 8 "Strumming as hard as I could" 113
Chapter 9 "They never saw anything like us" 127
Chapter 10 "Counting ceiling cracks" 151
Chapter 11 "In the system" 161
Chapter 12 "Insky like Flynnsky" 175
Chapter 13 "Hope I didn't wake you" 189
Chapter 14 "I'm not your father, I'm your manager" 201
Chapter 15 "Leftover hangover" 217
Chapter 16 "At the hop" 225
Chapter 17 "Just along for the ride" 237
Chapter 18 "Instant voltage" 251
Chapter 19 "A sign of less to come" 255
Chapter 20 "Jailbait from McPhearson" 265
Part 3 Detroit, the Second Week
Chapter 21 "The warning" 279
Chapter 22 "Elvis is in the building" 293
Chapter 23 "Part of the band" 305
Chapter 24 "Bobby'll be a little late" 319
Chapter 25 "Desperate on a dare" 331
Chapter 26 "One time for me" 339
Chapter 27 "Will I ever see you again?" 347
Chapter 28 "Message from Garcia" 357
Chapter 29 "Home" 373
Part 4 New York City, 1956-1972
Chapter 30 "Dark days" 381
Chapter 31 "Another phone call" 403
Chapter 32 "Reunion in Vegas" 421
Final Bows 431
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Holds reader inerest

    In 1956, two students meet for the first time at the prestigious Bronx High School of Science. Both are excited with the new music rocking the country and want to be part of the revolution. They become friends and form an act together and travel to their first dig, two weeks in a sleazy joint in Detroit. However, they break up. The Italian Walden Robert Cassotto changes his name to Bobby Darin before achieving fame while the Jew Steve Karmen writes his commercial jingles like 'You Deserve a Break Today,' 'I Love New York,' and 'Nationwide Is on Your Side.' <P> Steve Karmen provides an interesting ¿autobiography-biography¿ mostly focused on those two weeks in the pre Motown Motor City where the pair where the pair are surrounded by a world of sex filled with racketeers, strippers, and aging vaudeville comedians. The memoir provides the audience a glimpse at an early Rock and Roll legend as much as how what seemed a friendship forever dissolved under the pressure of fame, fortune, and sex. Easy to read just like one of the author¿s famous jingles, ME AND BOBBY D is a winner for readers who relish an intriguing tell all look at the ups and downs of fame with special insight into the life of Bobby Darin.<P> Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2003

    Book Review for 'Me and Bobby D.' by Steve Karmen

    When I purchased 'Me and Bobby D.', I'm sure I was a bit biased to begin with as I am an avid fan of Bobby Darin and absorb as much of his musical and human contributions to life as possible. Therefore, Mr. Karmen's book was no exception. As I read the opening two chapters, which I guess was supposed to capture my curiosity, I was saddened as I felt the overtones of the author painting a picture of Bobby Darin, not near as important as his gift to the entertainment world. I felt the book went on chapter after chapter with a tale of two boyhood friends who set out on a venture to find out who they really were and where their dreams for life would take them. I was hoping there would be an enormous emphasis on Bobby Darin as he emerged at this point in his his life from Robert Cassotto into the multi-talented Bobby Darin but instead it focused on Bobby's childish improprieties with only dribs and drabs of his growth into the mature performer he was to become. If you read carefully through wordy dialect and the language of city street kids you can see the inventive Bobby test the waters of his talents and begin to shape each of his performances to enhance his appearance and show the audience the gifts he had to offer. I feel Mr. Karmen was using the opportunity of this book to address his own insecurities and his fear of life's challenges which awaited him in the world of music which he loved. I felt throughout this book a jealousy as he watched Bobby challenge his every move with confidence and determination. The book was so filled with details of conversation that I felt it almost on the brink of fabrication. Page after page of this clutter and nonsense, I found distracting especially where the emphasis was on sexual escapades and everyday movement. I fought my way to what I thought would be a bitter ending but still optimistically looking for resolution but resigned to what the conclusion might leave in my heart. When I reached the final chapter I was pleasantly suprised as Mr. Karmen drew nicely together the niche in society he had successfully accomplished for himself and the love he deeply shared in his heart for his boyhood friend Bobby D. I would recommend this book for Bobby Darin fans, if only for the most beautifully written last chapter. Personally, again I am interested in all I can know about Bobby and these memoirs are certainly an important part of his life. Now a word for Mr. Karmen. I can see from this final chapter that you have the capability to write with clarity and emotion and would hope maybe someday you would write again on your life with Bobby and what you remember of him from his infancy at the Bronx Science High School to his emergence as a great performer. Your musical success is to be commended as this is your forte in life and you have certainly met with great success. I feel you have more that you can offer we fans of Bobby Darin's in the future and I look forward to any further contribution you can make to his legacy.

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