IF I WERE A CARPENTER COVERS
No, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich did not have the original of this classic.
That was Bobby Darin
(US: Atlantic 2350) 9/66 [UK: Atlantic 584.051] 9/66 [Rec. 15/08/66]
Born Robert Cassotto, he started as a rocker with “Splish Splash” in 1958, the first white artist on the Atlantic label, which specialised in R’n’B. He wrote most of his hits himself, and in 1959 came “Dream Lover”, his first standard. Then he tried a jazzy style, recording “Mack The Knife”, the biggest selling single of 1959 and n°1 for 9 weeks running.
During the early sixties he had more pop hits : “You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby”, “Multiplication”, “Things”, all songs that became well-known in France through cover versions. But he had also success on the Album market, in the fashion of Frank Sinatra like “Darin At The Copa”. And he dared to cover Ray Charles “What’d I Say” as early as 1962.
Having left the Atco label in 1962 for Capitol with few success, he returned to Atlantic in ’66 with a smash: “If I Were A Carpenter”. Having the same producers as Tim Hardin, who wrote this song, he was able to record it on 15 August 1966, and the record entered the Billboard chart on 24 September. Tim Hardin himself included his version on his “Volume II” album issued in the USA in April 1967, by which time the song had become a standard.
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich performed the song on stage as early as 1967, and recorded it for a BBC session on 15 August 1967. This version is quite different from the studio recording available on their “If No-One Sang” album, more soulful and straightforward, without the orchestral arrangement.
Later on, Bobby Darin returned the compliment to Tim Hardin, writing “Sing A Simple Song Of Freedom” which became Hardin’s only hit single, Top 50 in 1969. Bobby Darin died of a heart attack on 20 December 1973.