The corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street was the hub of the music industry, a gathering place where hopeful songwriters, music publishers, producers, musicians, singer,s disc jockeys and show business executives gathered and congregated daily. Music City, NBC Studios, Coffee Dan’s, Gold Star Recording Studios, and Capitol Records, all contributed to the lure of Hollywood dreams and aspirations of success.
Fred Darian entered onto the scene as an ambitious singer, working the graveyard shift, as a fry cook at Coffee Dan’s restaurant; making the rounds during the days, by performing songs as demonstrations for songwriters to present to record companies and music publishers. His ability to quickly read and perform the songs, without mistakes, made him even more in demand, for this was a time when records were cut directly onto acetate, before the advent of tape. More than one take on a song would prove costly to the songwriter and Fred earned a reputation for his ability to interpret a song accurately, with one take.
Fred’s first lucky break came when a late night customer at Coffee Dan’s came in for a cup of coffee. He was a songwriter, with whom Fred ultimately collaborated to develop, arrange, sing and produce the original song “Jezabel”. In 1951, Mitch Miller copied this arrangement for Frankie Laine to sing. “”Jezabel” became an immediate international hit record for Laine. Fred continues to participate in royalty earnings from the song.
In the late 1950s, Fred Darian, Joseph VanWinkle and Al DeLory performed as a singing trio called “The Balladeers”. Together, they formed Jatco Productions, a record production company , to promote the music they wrote. Their multi-talented artistry was used to write the lyrics and provide the musical and vocal backgrounds for their productions. In 1961, the Jatco trio wrote, produced, sang background and released Larry Verne’s smash hit record, “Mr Custer”, to Era Records which earned them a gold Record.
Through these years form 1951 to 1969, many songs were written, recorded and released, with Fred Darian performing the lead vocal, utiliizing Fred’s wide range and vocal timber. After Fred recorded the song “Plenty of Nothin'”, he was contracted as a vocalist with RCA Victor. Fred later released two Billboard chart hits of his own, on Cordak Records, with the rapid fire lyrics of “Johnny Willow” and “The Battle of Gettysburg”. Fred also sings the song at the beginning of the Disney movie “The Sword and The Stone”. Fred has particpated in the writing of over 25 copyrights, as an ASCAP writer. Many of the songs on Fred’s “80 Years of Gold” CD were released on the Cordak or JAF label, receiving Billboard and Cash Box chart action and brisk sales.
In 1965, Fred struck gold again while managing the artistic career of Dobie Gray. Fred Darian produced Dobie’s first three hits, which included the Billboard and National hit record, “The In Crowd”.
Through the years, Fred Darian has traveled, pursuing his career as a singer on the night club circuit, appearing as a headliner in the main room of the Thunderbird Hotel in Las Vegas, and night clubs throughout the the country, including Hawaii and Australia, and continues to entertain from his vast repertoire to the delight of his audiences.