Song 125 – Lazy River

SONG: Lazy River

ARTIST: Bobby Darin

YEAR: 1961

Listen to it here: 


(Up a) Lazy River was written by Hoagy Carmichael and Sidney Arodin in 1930. It has been recorded hundreds of times and is now considered a jazz and pop standard. 


For more information on Bobby Darin, check out our previous review of Mack the Knife!


There is a permanent outdoor exhibit in Portland, Oregon that plays this song all day every day. 


I like Bobby Darin, but do I think he deserves 2 entries on this list?  Hmmm.  Anyway, I’m not familiar with Lazy River, so this was a first time listen for me.  At first blush I thought to myself, oh no, is this going to be a Bobby wanting to be Elvis?  The first verse is just Bobby doing his Presley impression, but then everything changes – by the second verse we’re back to lounge Bobby and a full orchestra!  I have to say, he has really good dynamic and expressive range in this song, from a quiet purr to a loud, big band growl, and I’m actually pretty impressed by his vocals here.  The orchestra must be having a good time, especially by the end with screech trumpets ALMOST always hitting those high notes.  The last chorus is like an extended shout chorus, and it’s total lounge-fromage gloriousness!  The song itself is a bit of a throw away to me…a bit of a ‘medium brown’ type of song.  I think there are better Bobby Darin songs out there?  So this is pretty good, not great. 


Hm. There are lots of good things to say about this song, but I don’t love it. The big band sounds great, and the trumpets and saxophones sound especially great. Bobby Darin has a powerful voice and he sure knows how to use it. The consistent growth from the beginning of the song, to the shout chorus at the end is pretty exciting, but the melody itself is not particularly interesting, and there’s just something overly trope-y about this number. I have to say this song left me uninterested. Sorry Bobby. 

Average mark out of 10:

Holly: 5/10

Kelly: 6.5/10

Other notable versions of this song:

Sidney Bechet with a historical version: 

Louis Prima. What a gem!

And Louis Armstrong ripping it up:

Listen with us!

Link to 1,001 Songs to Hear Before You Die spotify playlist:

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