♫ Mack The Knife ♫

As a few of you are aware, it’s been a difficult couple of weeks, and tonight I was seeking music that … oh, I don’t know … that would bring happy thoughts and memories, perhaps, or just music that I see much as comfort food (I also indulged in some hummus and crackers for my 1:00 a.m. snack — whoopee, huh?).  I seized upon Louis Armstrong, and thought … Wonderful World!  I know, I know … I already played it.  Sigh.  But then … Mack … Mack the Knife popped into my head and simply would not leave through the other ear, but stayed bouncing around the hollow spaces of what passes for a mind inside my head.

Now, turns out this song has an origin that I was completely unaware of.  It was originally written in 1928 by German composers Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht for a play The Threepenny Opera.

My favourite version is Louis Armstrong’s that was released in 1956, perhaps only because I became a fan of Louis’ around the time I learned to walk, or perhaps because I am old and set in my ways … once somebody does a song, does it well, then why does every other Tom, Dick and Harry need to try to do it better?  However, for many, the Bobby Darin version is the only one worth hearing, so … I offer both here … take one, take both … just enjoy the music, ‘k?  (And yes, rawgod, I know you won’t like the lyrics … just listen to the rhythm, okay?)

Mack the Knife
Louis Armstrong … Bobby Darin

Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear
And it shows them pearly white
Just a jackknife has old MacHeath, babe
And he keeps it, ah, out of sight
Ya know when that shark bites with his teeth, babe
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy gloves, oh, wears old MacHeath, babe
So there’s never, never a trace of red

Now on the sidewalk, huh, huh, whoo sunny morning, un huh
Lies a body just oozin’ life, eek
And someone’s sneakin’ ’round the corner
Could that someone be Mack the Knife?

There’s a tugboat, huh, huh, down by the river don’tcha know
Where a cement bag’s just a’drooppin’ on down
Oh, that cement is for, just for the weight, dear
Five’ll get ya ten old Macky’s back in town
Now d’ja hear ’bout Louie Miller? He disappeared, babe
After drawin’ out all his hard-earned cash
And now MacHeath spends just like a sailor
Could it be our boy’s done somethin’ rash?

Now Jenny Diver, ho, ho, yeah, Sukey Tawdry
Ooh, Miss Lotte Lenya and old Lucy Brown
Oh, that line forms on the right, babe
Now that Macky’s back in town

I said Jenny Diver, whoa, Sukey Tawdry
Look out to Miss Lotte Lenya and old Lucy Brown
Yes, that line forms on the right, babe
Now that Macky’s back in town
Look out, old Macky’s back

Songwriters: Kurt Weill / Bertolt Brecht / Marc Blitzstein
Mack the Knife lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

21 thoughts on “♫ Mack The Knife ♫

  1. I did know the origins of this song and love Kurt Weill’s music – not that I claim to know much about it, I just love the idea of twenties/early thirties music in Germany, smoky nightclubs, a brief era that would end with Weill being exiled and his music labelled as degenerate by Hitler.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is before my time, could anyone tell me what this song is about? The lyrics imply a Jack-the-Ripper type fellow, or some mobster hitman on the job. Perhaps a James Bond character with women lined up after the job is done… in any case a very catchy tune. Thx 4 sharing! ❤

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  3. Actually, Jill, I have no problem with this song. Not only did I learn to love it before I formed my present philosophy, but Mackie doesn’t abuse any women, and he has reasoned reasons for his killings.
    Don’t ask me what I would do with this song today, probably take it to task. But the 6 year-old in me was impressed with the honour between thieves routine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m really glad you didn’t mind it … and that you even liked it. No, I won’t ask what you would do with it today, for I can guess. Some songs I like for the lyrics, but others I like just because the tune, the arrangement, makes me happy.

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  4. Jill, best wishes my friend. I did not know the origins of the song. Louie will make any song his own. He is a lot like Joe Cocker in that regard. But, other versions are also good as in the case with Bobby Darin’s. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

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