The beautiful love song, “If I Were A Carpenter,” became a smash hit single when covered by Bronx born and bred Walden Robert Cassotto, who you probably know as Bobby Darin. Darin’s song appeared on his LP of the same name, released in December 1966 on the Atlantic Records label.
I say Bobby Darin covered IIWAC, but perhaps that is the wrong terminology since the song writer, Tim Harden, also recorded the song and it appeared on the singer/songwriter’s second studio album released in April 1967 (on the Verve Forecast label) AFTER Darrin’s release. Of course I don’t know exactly when Hardin wrote and/or recorded the song. If any reader out there knows please write in.
TRIVIA: Did you know that Tim sang “If I Were a Carpenter” at Woodstock in 1969? He did. Check it out.
In 1968 the song charted #17 R&B, #20 Pop
Subsequently this ballad has been covered by, literally, hundreds of artists and one of those was the Four Tops of Motown, with the stunning voice of Levi Stubbs on lease vocal. The Tops’ IIWAC cover appeared on their July 1967 release, the LP “Reach Out.” “Reach Out” contained both Motown originals and some great pop covers including “Walk Away Rene” and “If I Were A Carpenter.” Both of these tracks of big favorites of mine.
There is not else to much to say about Levi and The Tops other than every thing I have ever heard by these gentlemen has been suberb. Levi Stubb’s voice was one of a kind IMHO. R.I.P. Mr. Stubbs.
Uploaded by jimaluko on Nov 5, 2006
This is from a TV special recorded 9 months before Bobby Darin’s death at age 37. He jokes around and then sings a spellbinding version of “If I Were a Carpenter.”
I’d like to close with this tender live performance by Darrin that I found on YouTube. Before I even checked YT, I just knew I would find plenty of vintage live performances of this tune by Darin because I remember seeing him perform this song on just about every variety show of the era. I think you will especially enjoy this one.