Fascinating history of the popular song "Mack the Knife"

I was curious about the lyrics but in wikiing it up I had no idea the song had such an varied and extensive history. Wiki is worth a read.

Mack the Knife

There is a tribute album called September Songs that includes two versions of the song. The first is the German-language recording by Bertolt Brecht himself, complete with pre-Hitler rolled Rs. The other is a (not particularly imaginative) take by Nick Cave.

It is a great album. It includes other Kurt Weill songs performed by Elvis Costello, Lou Reed, William S. Burroughs, P.j. Harvey, The Persuasions, Betty Carter, and Mary Margaret O’Hara, as well as by Kurt Weill himself and his wife, Lotte Lenya. I highly recommend it.

Did you notice the wiki links back to a Straight Dope column? :slight_smile:

All that will be has begun. All that has come is not gone.

There’s also kind of a salsa version by Ruben Blades from Fania, which which was pretty big in the 70s–not the same melody but similar in sentiment.

Of course, The Threepenny Opera is a German adaptation of The Beggar’s Opera, written in 1728 by John Gay, and a huge success in 18th century Britain. The character of Macheath, Mack the knife, was Gay’s invention, not Brecht’s or Weill’s.

Another Brecht-Weill song that became a rock hit, was “Alabama Song”, recorded by both The Doors (with Ray Manzarek, most appropriately, on marxophone) and David Bowie.

I always though Kurt Weill would have been a great name for a punk rocker, if it hadn’t already been taken.

One of the alternate versions is by Ella Fitzgerald, where she just makes up her own lyrics, supposedly because she had forgotten the original ones.

Previous discussion of Mack the Knife http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=530194 that might be of some interest.

I dunno, it seemed like she got most or all of the original words in. I’d bet the extra verses on the end — including the Louis Armstrong impression — were deliberate.

I can’t not think of a Moon in sunglasses playing piano when I hear this song. Thanks McDonald’s…

It’s Mac Tonight!