The classic song “Mack The Knife” was recorded by Bobby Darin in December 1958 and released in 1959. “Mack” won the Grammy for Record of the Year in 1959. This Grammy goes to the performer — in this case Bobby Darin was the recipient for this his first and only #1 song.
Darin was also voted the Grammy Award for Best New Artist that year, and “Mack The Knife” has since been honored with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award. (WIKI)
Darin may have won the Grammy for performing this song but my favorite version was sung by Louis Armstrong. Armstrong introduced the song in 1956 on the Hit Parade, long before Darin covered “Mack.”
As a youngster I loved listening to both Bobby Darin and Louis Armstrong sing this song on variety shows, and to this day I never understood the lyrics. I just love the tune and tell you nobody could swing that song like Armstrong.
What rendition do you prefer? Armstrong’s original or Darin’s cover? Leave a comment on your favorite below.
In preparing this post I came across this story behind “Mack The Knife” on the website Straight Dope. Enjoy the read. But before you go check out these last two videos. I wanted to share both Ella Fitzgerald’s and Frank Sinatra’s covers of “Mack.” Trivia: Quincy Jones produced Frank Sinatra’s version.
“Mack The Knife” (Or Theme From The Threepenny Opera) Composed by Kurt Weil and Bertolt Brecht (lyrics) for their German “The Threepenny Opera” of 1928.
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, though, wears old MacHeath, babe
So there’s nevah, nevah a trace of red.
Now on the sidewalk … uuh, huh … whoo … sunny mornin’ … uuh, huh
Lies a body just oozin’ life … eeek!
And someone’s sneakin’ ‘round the corner
Could that someone be Mack the Knife?
A-there’s a tugboat … huh, huh, huh … down by the river don’tcha know
Where a cement bag’s just a’droopin’ on down
Oh, that cement is just, it’s there 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, the line forms on the right, babe
Now that Macky’s back in town.
Aah … 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 is back!
- Bertolt Brecht & Kurt Weil: “Moritat von Mackie Messer” (subsequently “Mack the Knife”) (covermeimpressed.com)
- Bobby Darin dies. (otdradio.wordpress.com)
- Mack the Knife: Bobby Darin (keepthecoffeecoming.wordpress.com)