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“Mack the Knife” by Bobby Darin

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“Mack the Knife” by Bobby Darin


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“Mack the Knife” by Bobby Darin


     
 

song info

    “Mack the Knife” by Bobby Darin is a pop song.

    Song Title: Mack the Knife
    Artist: Bobby Darin
    Album: That’s All
    Genre: classic pop, jazz, rock
    Composer: Copyright © Kurt Weill (music), Bertolt Brecht (original German lyrics), Marc Blitzstein, Turk Murphy (English version)
    Lead Vocals: Bobby Darin
    Trumpet: Doc Severinsen
    Recorded: December 19, 1958, Fulton Studios, New York City
    Released: August 1959
    Label: Atco (U.S.), London (UK)
    Number of listens: 21291
    Current rank: 96 (updated weekly)
    Highest rank: 44 (play the video all the way through to register a vote for this song)

    Commentary:
    This song entered the charts at #59 in 1959 and became the 59th #1 of the rock era.

    Bobby Darin heard the song at a 1958 Greenwich Village production of The Threepenny Opera and reworked it for his nightclub act. He included it on his March 1959 album That’s All. In May his song “Dream Lover” became a hit.
    There was debate as to whether releasing the song would harm Bobby Darin’s teen idol appeal. Atlantic Records boss Ahmet Ertegun ordered the single released. Bobby Darin lost his teen appeal, but picked up a much larger adult audience and a long running Las Vegas career.

Translations courtesy of Apple and Google.

 
     

    Summary quotation from Wikipedia:

    “Mack the Knife” or “The Ballad of Mack the Knife”, originally “Die Moritat von Mackie Messer”, is a song composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for their music drama Die Dreigroschenoper, or, as it is known in English, The Threepenny Opera. It premiered in Berlin in 1928 at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm. The song has become a popular standard.

The Threepenny Opera

    A moritat (from mori meaning “deadly” and tat meaning “deed”) is a medieval version of the murder ballad performed by strolling minstrels. In The Threepenny Opera, the moritat singer with his street organ introduces and closes the drama with the tale of the deadly Mackie Messer, or Mack the Knife, a character based on the dashing highwayman Macheath in John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera (who was in turn based on the historical thief Jack Sheppard). The Brecht-Weill version of the character was far more cruel and sinister, and has been transformed into a modern anti-hero.

    The play opens with the moritat singer comparing Macheath (unfavorably) with a shark, and then telling tales of his robberies, murders, rapes, and arson.

    The song was a last minute addition, inserted just before its première in 1928, because Harald Paulsen, the actor who played Macheath, demanded that Brecht and Weill add another number that would more effectively introduce his character.[1] However, Weill and Brecht decided the song should not be sung by Macheath himself, opting instead to write the song for a street singer in keeping with the moritat tradition. At the premièe, the song was sung by Kurt Gerron, who played Police Chief Brown. Weill also intended the Moritat to be accompanied by a barrel organ, which was to be played by the singer.[2] At the premiere, though, the barrel organ failed, and the pit orchestra (a jazz band) had to quickly provide the accompaniment for the street singer. [3]
GermanEnglish
Und der Haifisch, der hat Zähne,
Und die trägt er im Gesicht.
Und Macheath, der hat ein Messer,
Doch das Messer sieht man nicht.
Though the shark’s teeth may be lethal
Still you see them white and red
But you won’t see Mackie’s flick knife
Cause he slashed you and you’re dead

Popular song

    “Mack the Knife” was introduced to the United States hit parade by Louis Armstrong in 1956, but the song is most closely associated with Bobby Darin, who recorded his version at Fulton Studios on West 40th Street, New York City, on December 19, 1958 (with Tom Dowd engineering the recording). In 1959 Darin’s version reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and number six on the Black Singles chart, and earned him a Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Dick Clark had advised Darin not to record the song because of the perception that, having come from an opera, it wouldn’t appeal to the rock & roll audience. In subsequent years, Clark recounted the story with good humor. Frank Sinatra, who recorded the song with Quincy Jones on his “L.A. Is My Lady” album, called Darin’s the “definitive” version. Darin’s version hit #3 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100.[7] In 2003, the Darin version was ranked #251 on Rolling Stone’s “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list. On BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, pop mogul Simon Cowell named “Mack the Knife” the best song ever written.

—from Wikipedia (the Wikipedia:Text of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License applies to Wikipedia’s block of text and possible accompanying picture, along with any alterations, transformations, and/or building upon Wikipedia’s original text that ThisSideofSanity.com applied to this block of text)

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