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Song of the Day #137

Song of the Day: Mack the Knife is derived from "Moritat" ("Murder Ballad") in the Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht 1928 "Threepenny Opera" ("Die Dreigroschenoper"), which itself was based on John Gay's 1728 "Beggar's Opera." This song was a jazzy, swinging hit for Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin, and Ella Fitzgerald (click each for audio clips). The story of how it became a song and a hit, multiple times, is told by David Hinckley, in his essay: "Back in Town: The Transformation of MacHeath." (As Hinckley reminds us, the song, with music by Weill and lyrics by Brecht, was given "a few Americanizing tweaks" by composer Marc Blitzstein. Hinckley also has a fine portrait of Darin here. And see this L&P exchange.)