Rock and Roll Novelty Song
Golden oldies music would sometimes make references in songs to other golden oldies music. Such is the case with “Splish Splash.” The idea for “Splish Splash” came up in a conversation between Bobby Darin and New York disc jockey Murray Kaufman (“Murray The K”). Kaufman bet Darin that he couldn’t write a song beginning with the words, “Splish Splash, I was takin’ a bath.” Darin accepted the challenge, and they immediately went to work and co-wrote “Splish Splash.” The song’s authorship was credited to Darin and “Jean Murray” (a combination Kaufman and Kaufman’s mother’s name), which was done to avoid any accusations of payola. The song helped to give Darin a major boost in his career, reaching # 3 on the U.S. Pop Singles Chart in 1958. The lyrics mention several characters from other songs of the period, including “Lollipop,” “Peggy Sue,” and “Good Golly Miss Molly.”
Darin was born Walden Robert Cassotto in The Bronx, New York, in 1936. He began as a songwriter and wrote songs for artists such as Connie Francis. “Splish Splash” was own first million-selling record. He had other hits with “Dream Lover,” “Mack the Knife,” and “Beyond the Sea.” He was a singer and played several instruments, including the guitar, piano, and drums. His music crossed a number of genres — rock and roll, jazz, blues, pop, swing. Darin appeared in several films. He was in Come September and If a Man Answers with Sandra Dee, whom he married in 1960. In the 1960s, he was politically active and worked on Robert Kennedy’s campaign for president. He died in 1973 at the age of 37. He had health issues throughout his life, as rheumatic fever he had as a child weakened his heart.