Discussion:
The Number Ones: Bobby Darin’s “Mack The Knife”
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Bob Roman
2018-11-18 20:58:36 UTC
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A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.

Bobby Darin – “Mack The Knife”
HIT #1: October 5, 1959
STAYED AT #1: 9 weeks

When Lloyd Price’s version of “Stagger Lee” hit #1 earlier in 1959, it must’ve been something of a shock: A genuine murder ballad, performed with a getting-away-with-it sense of glee and enthusiasm, topping the charts in an era when scrubbed teen idols were taking over. But “Stagger Lee” had nothing on “Mack The Knife.” “Mack The Knife” was originally a German song, from Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera, and the lyrics in the original German are even more gruesome than they were in the version that Bobby Darin hit with. Still, the stuff Darin was singing was, by just about any standard, pretty fucking hardcore: “Now on the sidewalk, ooh, Sunday morning / Lies a body just oozing life.”

Bobby Darin, born in East Harlem and raised in the Bronx, had started his career as one of those scrubbed teen idols after serving a stint as a Brill Building songwriter. But as soon as he won any measure of career control, he went into jazz-crooner mode, which made him an anachronism in his era. But the man knew what he was doing, and he sold those jazz-pop songs with so much skill and personality that he wound up a huge star anyway.

“Mack The Knife” is a song about Jack Macheath, a murderer, and it had been on the pop-culture radar for years before Darin sang it; Louis Armstrong had a hit with it in 1956. But Darin attacks the song with such a sense of showbiz menace that he essentially redefines the song and makes it his own. “Stagger Lee” felt transgressive because Lloyd Price wasn’t really judging any of the characters in the song; he just seemed excited to be telling the story. With “Mack The Knife,” Darin goes beyond that. He essentially becomes the story; I hear the song as Mack telling us about his own murderous exploits and doing it in the third person, like a real egotistical psycho.

The instrumentation, with its swinging piano and its grand horn-stabs, is self-consciously old-school, and Darin throws ad-libs all over it; I love the “eek!” after “oozing life.” Everyone involved seems to be having a great time with it, and that comes through when you’re listening. Its darkness is infectious. It’s not just that Darin comes across as a nasty motherfucker. It’s that he turns us into nasty motherfuckers, too.

GRADE: 9/10
Eric Ramon
2018-11-18 21:36:44 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Bobby Darin – “Mack The Knife”
HIT #1: October 5, 1959
STAYED AT #1: 9 weeks
When Lloyd Price’s version of “Stagger Lee” hit #1 earlier in 1959, it must’ve been something of a shock: A genuine murder ballad, performed with a getting-away-with-it sense of glee and enthusiasm, topping the charts in an era when scrubbed teen idols were taking over. But “Stagger Lee” had nothing on “Mack The Knife.” “Mack The Knife” was originally a German song, from Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera, and the lyrics in the original German are even more gruesome than they were in the version that Bobby Darin hit with. Still, the stuff Darin was singing was, by just about any standard, pretty fucking hardcore: “Now on the sidewalk, ooh, Sunday morning / Lies a body just oozing life.”
Bobby Darin, born in East Harlem and raised in the Bronx, had started his career as one of those scrubbed teen idols after serving a stint as a Brill Building songwriter. But as soon as he won any measure of career control, he went into jazz-crooner mode, which made him an anachronism in his era. But the man knew what he was doing, and he sold those jazz-pop songs with so much skill and personality that he wound up a huge star anyway.
“Mack The Knife” is a song about Jack Macheath, a murderer, and it had been on the pop-culture radar for years before Darin sang it; Louis Armstrong had a hit with it in 1956. But Darin attacks the song with such a sense of showbiz menace that he essentially redefines the song and makes it his own. “Stagger Lee” felt transgressive because Lloyd Price wasn’t really judging any of the characters in the song; he just seemed excited to be telling the story. With “Mack The Knife,” Darin goes beyond that. He essentially becomes the story; I hear the song as Mack telling us about his own murderous exploits and doing it in the third person, like a real egotistical psycho.
The instrumentation, with its swinging piano and its grand horn-stabs, is self-consciously old-school, and Darin throws ad-libs all over it; I love the “eek!” after “oozing life.” Everyone involved seems to be having a great time with it, and that comes through when you’re listening. Its darkness is infectious. It’s not just that Darin comes across as a nasty motherfucker. It’s that he turns us into nasty motherfuckers, too.
GRADE: 9/10
yes, well....I do believe this whole series is Breihan echoing what he's been told is "hip" and convincing himself that that's what he thinks.

And I still think his Harper Valley PTA 10/10 rating sums up the guy.
Dennis C
2018-11-18 23:02:41 UTC
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And if that Briehan fellow ever decided to start posting in here, Grossberg would have a green jacket in about three months.
SavoyBG
2018-11-18 23:32:57 UTC
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Post by Dennis C
And if that Briehan fellow ever decided to start posting in here, Grossberg would have a green jacket in about three months.
More like 3 days.
Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-19 02:14:38 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1
in the Billboard Hot 100.
Bobby Darin ­ ³Mack The Knife²
HIT #1: October 5, 1959
STAYED AT #1: 9 weeks
When Lloyd Price¹s version of ³Stagger Lee² hit #1 earlier in 1959, it
must¹ve been something of a shock: A genuine murder ballad, performed with a
getting-away-with-it sense of glee and enthusiasm, topping the charts in an
era when scrubbed teen idols were taking over. But ³Stagger Lee² had nothing
on ³Mack The Knife.² ³Mack The Knife² was originally a German song, from Kurt
Weill and Bertolt Brecht¹s The Threepenny Opera, and the lyrics in the
original German are even more gruesome than they were in the version that
Bobby Darin hit with. Still, the stuff Darin was singing was, by just about
any standard, pretty fucking hardcore: ³Now on the sidewalk, ooh, Sunday
morning / Lies a body just oozing life.²
Bobby Darin, born in East Harlem and raised in the Bronx, had started his
career as one of those scrubbed teen idols after serving a stint as a Brill
Building songwriter. But as soon as he won any measure of career control, he
went into jazz-crooner mode, which made him an anachronism in his era. But
the man knew what he was doing, and he sold those jazz-pop songs with so much
skill and personality that he wound up a huge star anyway.
³Mack The Knife² is a song about Jack Macheath, a murderer, and it had been
on the pop-culture radar for years before Darin sang it; Louis Armstrong had
a hit with it in 1956. But Darin attacks the song with such a sense of
showbiz menace that he essentially redefines the song and makes it his own.
³Stagger Lee² felt transgressive because Lloyd Price wasn¹t really judging
any of the characters in the song; he just seemed excited to be telling the
story. With ³Mack The Knife,² Darin goes beyond that. He essentially becomes
the story; I hear the song as Mack telling us about his own murderous
exploits and doing it in the third person, like a real egotistical psycho.
The instrumentation, with its swinging piano and its grand horn-stabs, is
self-consciously old-school, and Darin throws ad-libs all over it; I love the
³eek!² after ³oozing life.² Everyone involved seems to be having a great time
with it, and that comes through when you¹re listening. Its darkness is
infectious. It¹s not just that Darin comes across as a nasty motherfucker.
It¹s that he turns us into nasty motherfuckers, too.
GRADE: 9/10
Darin's version hardcore? Breihan is about to convince me that Bruce is
right; people, or at least critics, should ignore lyrics.

A few facts, as briefly at possible. The song originated as a brief
overture to "The Threepenny Opera," which caused a scandal and rioting
in Berlin in 1927, in part because of the script, which was both brutal
and cynical, as well as often funny and politically radical, and its
music, which mirrored the harshness of the lyrics, combined Kurt
Weill's interest in jazz with the sort of atonal experiments then
making the rounds of avant-garde classical music. (All this being
presented as "opera" at a time when Nazis and Communists were battling
like street gangs on the streets and Hitler was preparing to take
power.) Twenty years later, after WWII, the play was translated and
very successfully produced in an off-Broadway version. The harshness of
the music and the lyrics were both substantially softened for American
audiences and that helped make it a big hit. The lyric of "Mack the
Knife" was further softened when Louis Armstrong did the song, and it
was Armstrong's swinging version that Darin used as the template for
his hit. So, Mr. Breihan, if you want something "fucking hardcore"
you'll have to learn German and hear it in the context of the play;
Darin's version, much as I like it, is about as soft and mushy as the
song can be. Berthold Brecht was truly a "nasty motherfucker," in the
complimentary way you seem to mean that phrase. Darin was, in
comparison, as mild (and entertaining) as a kitten.
--
--md
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Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-19 04:08:26 UTC
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In case anyone is interested, here's the song as sung by Lotte Lenya in
the style of the original, in which she actually had a role. Lenya,
btw, is best known to Americans for her role in the second James Bond
film, "From Russia With Love." She the KGB assassin with the poison
knife in her shoe.


--
--md
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Roger Ford
2018-11-19 07:59:51 UTC
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On Sun, 18 Nov 2018 22:08:26 -0600, Mark Dintenfass
Post by Mark Dintenfass
In case anyone is interested, here's the song as sung by Lotte Lenya in
the style of the original, in which she actually had a role. Lenya,
btw, is best known to Americans for her role in the second James Bond
film, "From Russia With Love." She the KGB assassin with the poison
knife in her shoe.
http://youtu.be/X7eO7MKEZAY
And of course she made her transition to the actual "Mack The Knife"
song as a mentioned person ("look out Miss Lotte Lenya") when Louis
Armstrong ad libbed her name into the song after seeing her in person
in the studio watching him record the number.

Darin in his version later followed faithfully the Satchmo lyric line
and included her name too

ROGER FORD
-----------------------

"Spam Free Zone" - to combat unwanted automatic spamming I have added
an extra "m" in my e-mail address (***@mmail.com).
Please delete same before responding.Thank you!
Roger Ford
2018-11-19 08:03:33 UTC
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On Sun, 18 Nov 2018 20:14:38 -0600, Mark Dintenfass
Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1
in the Billboard Hot 100.
Bobby Darin ­ ³Mack The Knife²
HIT #1: October 5, 1959
STAYED AT #1: 9 weeks
When Lloyd Price¹s version of ³Stagger Lee² hit #1 earlier in 1959, it
must¹ve been something of a shock: A genuine murder ballad, performed with a
getting-away-with-it sense of glee and enthusiasm, topping the charts in an
era when scrubbed teen idols were taking over. But ³Stagger Lee² had nothing
on ³Mack The Knife.² ³Mack The Knife² was originally a German song, from Kurt
Weill and Bertolt Brecht¹s The Threepenny Opera, and the lyrics in the
original German are even more gruesome than they were in the version that
Bobby Darin hit with. Still, the stuff Darin was singing was, by just about
any standard, pretty fucking hardcore: ³Now on the sidewalk, ooh, Sunday
morning / Lies a body just oozing life.²
Bobby Darin, born in East Harlem and raised in the Bronx, had started his
career as one of those scrubbed teen idols after serving a stint as a Brill
Building songwriter. But as soon as he won any measure of career control, he
went into jazz-crooner mode, which made him an anachronism in his era. But
the man knew what he was doing, and he sold those jazz-pop songs with so much
skill and personality that he wound up a huge star anyway.
³Mack The Knife² is a song about Jack Macheath, a murderer, and it had been
on the pop-culture radar for years before Darin sang it; Louis Armstrong had
a hit with it in 1956. But Darin attacks the song with such a sense of
showbiz menace that he essentially redefines the song and makes it his own.
³Stagger Lee² felt transgressive because Lloyd Price wasn¹t really judging
any of the characters in the song; he just seemed excited to be telling the
story. With ³Mack The Knife,² Darin goes beyond that. He essentially becomes
the story; I hear the song as Mack telling us about his own murderous
exploits and doing it in the third person, like a real egotistical psycho.
The instrumentation, with its swinging piano and its grand horn-stabs, is
self-consciously old-school, and Darin throws ad-libs all over it; I love the
³eek!² after ³oozing life.² Everyone involved seems to be having a great time
with it, and that comes through when you¹re listening. Its darkness is
infectious. It¹s not just that Darin comes across as a nasty motherfucker.
It¹s that he turns us into nasty motherfuckers, too.
GRADE: 9/10
Darin's version hardcore? Breihan is about to convince me that Bruce is
right; people, or at least critics, should ignore lyrics.
A few facts, as briefly at possible. The song originated as a brief
overture to "The Threepenny Opera," which caused a scandal and rioting
in Berlin in 1927, in part because of the script, which was both brutal
and cynical, as well as often funny and politically radical, and its
music, which mirrored the harshness of the lyrics, combined Kurt
Weill's interest in jazz with the sort of atonal experiments then
making the rounds of avant-garde classical music. (All this being
presented as "opera" at a time when Nazis and Communists were battling
like street gangs on the streets and Hitler was preparing to take
power.) Twenty years later, after WWII, the play was translated and
very successfully produced in an off-Broadway version. The harshness of
the music and the lyrics were both substantially softened for American
audiences and that helped make it a big hit. The lyric of "Mack the
Knife" was further softened when Louis Armstrong did the song, and it
was Armstrong's swinging version that Darin used as the template for
his hit. So, Mr. Breihan, if you want something "fucking hardcore"
you'll have to learn German and hear it in the context of the play;
Darin's version, much as I like it, is about as soft and mushy as the
song can be. Berthold Brecht was truly a "nasty motherfucker," in the
complimentary way you seem to mean that phrase. Darin was, in
comparison, as mild (and entertaining) as a kitten.
Worth mentioning that Darin's "Mack The Knife" (heavily based on the
1956 Louis Armstrong version) originated as the lead track on his
career-changing "That's All" album released in early 1959. In one fell
swoop Darin famous for his earlier teen rock hits "Splish Splash" and
"Queen Of The Hop" did a complete about face with this collection of
jazzy numbers and standards done very accurately in swinging
Sinatraesque style (tho its worth remembering that the best of his
teen rock numbers "Dream Lover" was released AFTER this album)

The very catchy "Dream Lover" (US #2 UK #1) became his biggest hit to
date after which Atlantic scheduled "Mack The Knife" to be taken off
the now best selling LP as his next single. Darin initially resisted
but since the LP was building up such enormous sales and becoming
easily the biggest LP Atlantic had ever had (up to that time) the
company won out. And promptly released their biggest selling single to
date which topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

The lure of the "That's All" album didn't stop there since Darin's
next single was also taken from it. "Beyond The Sea" a sparkling
English rewrite of Charles Trenet's 1945 French hit "La Mer" (done
first in English by Benny Goodman) also became a smash hit as a single
in early 1960

ROGER FORD
-----------------------

"Spam Free Zone" - to combat unwanted automatic spamming I have added
an extra "m" in my e-mail address (***@mmail.com).
Please delete same before responding.Thank you!
Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-19 14:58:56 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
The very catchy "Dream Lover" (US #2 UK #1) became his biggest hit to
date after which Atlantic scheduled "Mack The Knife" to be taken off
the now best selling LP as his next single. Darin initially resisted
but since the LP was building up such enormous sales and becoming
easily the biggest LP Atlantic had ever had (up to that time) the
company won out. And promptly released their biggest selling single to
date which topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
"Dream Lover" is the best of Darin's r'n'r records and the only one I
still care to listen to.
Post by Roger Ford
The lure of the "That's All" album didn't stop there since Darin's
next single was also taken from it. "Beyond The Sea" a sparkling
English rewrite of Charles Trenet's 1945 French hit "La Mer" (done
first in English by Benny Goodman) also became a smash hit as a single
in early 1960.
I think we agree that "Beyond the Sea" is the best of Darin's pop
records. Nowadays it seems much more enjoyable than "Mac the Knife" and
anything that came later, especially the maudlin and annoying
"Artificial Flowers."
--
--md
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Remove xx's from address to reply
t***@iwvisp.com
2018-11-19 16:26:42 UTC
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Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by Roger Ford
The very catchy "Dream Lover" (US #2 UK #1) became his biggest hit to
date after which Atlantic scheduled "Mack The Knife" to be taken off
the now best selling LP as his next single. Darin initially resisted
but since the LP was building up such enormous sales and becoming
easily the biggest LP Atlantic had ever had (up to that time) the
company won out. And promptly released their biggest selling single to
date which topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
"Dream Lover" is the best of Darin's r'n'r records and the only one I
still care to listen to.
Post by Roger Ford
The lure of the "That's All" album didn't stop there since Darin's
next single was also taken from it. "Beyond The Sea" a sparkling
English rewrite of Charles Trenet's 1945 French hit "La Mer" (done
first in English by Benny Goodman) also became a smash hit as a single
in early 1960.
I think we agree that "Beyond the Sea" is the best of Darin's pop
records. Nowadays it seems much more enjoyable than "Mac the Knife" and
anything that came later, especially the maudlin and annoying
"Artificial Flowers."
--
--md
But, but, they found little Annie all covered in ice; you heartless SOB! :)

Ray
SavoyBG
2018-11-19 16:35:31 UTC
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Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by Roger Ford
The very catchy "Dream Lover" (US #2 UK #1) became his biggest hit to
date after which Atlantic scheduled "Mack The Knife" to be taken off
the now best selling LP as his next single. Darin initially resisted
but since the LP was building up such enormous sales and becoming
easily the biggest LP Atlantic had ever had (up to that time) the
company won out. And promptly released their biggest selling single to
date which topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
"Dream Lover" is the best of Darin's r'n'r records and the only one I
still care to listen to.
No, I still like "Splash" and "Queen" very much.
Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by Roger Ford
The lure of the "That's All" album didn't stop there since Darin's
next single was also taken from it. "Beyond The Sea" a sparkling
English rewrite of Charles Trenet's 1945 French hit "La Mer" (done
first in English by Benny Goodman) also became a smash hit as a single
in early 1960.
I think we agree that "Beyond the Sea" is the best of Darin's pop
records.
"We" agree, but Roger prefers "Mack."
Roger Ford
2018-11-19 19:02:05 UTC
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On Mon, 19 Nov 2018 08:58:56 -0600, Mark Dintenfass
Post by Mark Dintenfass
I think we agree that "Beyond the Sea" is the best of Darin's pop
records. Nowadays it seems much more enjoyable than "Mac the Knife" and
anything that came later, especially the maudlin and annoying
"Artificial Flowers."
No, I still like "Mack The Knife" better than "Beyond The Sea"---by a
whisker. Both are terrific!

But I DO agree on the dire show tune "Artificial Flowers" that I put
right down there with "Multiplication" as his worst songs on Atco

I wonder how many folks here know this one by him that is pretty good
IMO. Never a regular release it was only able for a short time as part
of an advertising stunt



ROGER FORD
-----------------------

"Spam Free Zone" - to combat unwanted automatic spamming I have added
an extra "m" in my e-mail address (***@mmail.com).
Please delete same before responding.Thank you!
DianeE
2018-11-19 21:46:44 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
I wonder how many folks here know this one by him that is pretty good
IMO. Never a regular release it was only able for a short time as part
of an advertising stunt
http://youtu.be/IgOp75AxeLQ
--------------
Thanks--I never heard this full-length version. It *is* really good.
(Unlike the product it advertised, which left you very streaky and IIRC
didn't stay on the market all that long.)
Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-19 22:12:11 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
On Mon, 19 Nov 2018 08:58:56 -0600, Mark Dintenfass
Post by Mark Dintenfass
I think we agree that "Beyond the Sea" is the best of Darin's pop
records. Nowadays it seems much more enjoyable than "Mac the Knife" and
anything that came later, especially the maudlin and annoying
"Artificial Flowers."
No, I still like "Mack The Knife" better than "Beyond The Sea"---by a
whisker. Both are terrific!
But I DO agree on the dire show tune "Artificial Flowers" that I put
right down there with "Multiplication" as his worst songs on Atco
I wonder how many folks here know this one by him that is pretty good
IMO. Never a regular release it was only able for a short time as part
of an advertising stunt
http://youtu.be/IgOp75AxeLQ
New to me (unless you posted it years go and I forgot). Pretty good,
too, though a bit repetitive. :)
--
--md
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Dennis C
2018-11-19 22:51:03 UTC
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Never crazy about Bobby Darin

I thought he and Sandra Dee made a perfect match as I rated them equal in their respective professions:

3-1/2.
Jim Colegrove
2018-11-19 20:40:07 UTC
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On Mon, 19 Nov 2018 08:58:56 -0600, Mark Dintenfass
Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by Roger Ford
The very catchy "Dream Lover" (US #2 UK #1) became his biggest hit to
date after which Atlantic scheduled "Mack The Knife" to be taken off
the now best selling LP as his next single. Darin initially resisted
but since the LP was building up such enormous sales and becoming
easily the biggest LP Atlantic had ever had (up to that time) the
company won out. And promptly released their biggest selling single to
date which topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
"Dream Lover" is the best of Darin's r'n'r records and the only one I
still care to listen to.
Post by Roger Ford
The lure of the "That's All" album didn't stop there since Darin's
next single was also taken from it. "Beyond The Sea" a sparkling
English rewrite of Charles Trenet's 1945 French hit "La Mer" (done
first in English by Benny Goodman) also became a smash hit as a single
in early 1960.
I think we agree that "Beyond the Sea" is the best of Darin's pop
records. Nowadays it seems much more enjoyable than "Mac the Knife" and
anything that came later, especially the maudlin and annoying
"Artificial Flowers."
I can still listen to "Mack the Knife" but prefer "Beyond the Sea."

And, while I still enjoy very much enjoy hearing "Dream Lover" (we
performed this song to death back in the day), I still like "Queen of
the Hop" and "Splish Splash."
Bob Roman
2018-11-19 13:01:25 UTC
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Post by Mark Dintenfass
Darin's version hardcore? Breihan is about to convince me that Bruce is
right; people, or at least critics, should ignore lyrics.
A few facts, as briefly at possible. The song originated as a brief
overture to "The Threepenny Opera," which caused a scandal and rioting
in Berlin in 1927, in part because of the script, which was both brutal
and cynical, as well as often funny and politically radical, and its
music, which mirrored the harshness of the lyrics, combined Kurt
Weill's interest in jazz with the sort of atonal experiments then
making the rounds of avant-garde classical music. (All this being
presented as "opera" at a time when Nazis and Communists were battling
like street gangs on the streets and Hitler was preparing to take
power.) Twenty years later, after WWII, the play was translated and
very successfully produced in an off-Broadway version. The harshness of
the music and the lyrics were both substantially softened for American
audiences and that helped make it a big hit. The lyric of "Mack the
Knife" was further softened when Louis Armstrong did the song, and it
was Armstrong's swinging version that Darin used as the template for
his hit. So, Mr. Breihan, if you want something "fucking hardcore"
you'll have to learn German and hear it in the context of the play;
Darin's version, much as I like it, is about as soft and mushy as the
song can be. Berthold Brecht was truly a "nasty motherfucker," in the
complimentary way you seem to mean that phrase. Darin was, in
comparison, as mild (and entertaining) as a kitten.
To be fair, he does concede that "the lyrics in the original German are even more gruesome" and that Darin's version stood out (his performance as much as the lyrics) within the context of an era of "scrubbed teen idols" singing Mr Lonely and Why.

--
BR
SavoyBG
2018-11-19 14:01:00 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
Post by Mark Dintenfass
Darin's version hardcore? Breihan is about to convince me that Bruce is
right; people, or at least critics, should ignore lyrics.
A few facts, as briefly at possible. The song originated as a brief
overture to "The Threepenny Opera," which caused a scandal and rioting
in Berlin in 1927, in part because of the script, which was both brutal
and cynical, as well as often funny and politically radical, and its
music, which mirrored the harshness of the lyrics, combined Kurt
Weill's interest in jazz with the sort of atonal experiments then
making the rounds of avant-garde classical music. (All this being
presented as "opera" at a time when Nazis and Communists were battling
like street gangs on the streets and Hitler was preparing to take
power.) Twenty years later, after WWII, the play was translated and
very successfully produced in an off-Broadway version. The harshness of
the music and the lyrics were both substantially softened for American
audiences and that helped make it a big hit. The lyric of "Mack the
Knife" was further softened when Louis Armstrong did the song, and it
was Armstrong's swinging version that Darin used as the template for
his hit. So, Mr. Breihan, if you want something "fucking hardcore"
you'll have to learn German and hear it in the context of the play;
Darin's version, much as I like it, is about as soft and mushy as the
song can be. Berthold Brecht was truly a "nasty motherfucker," in the
complimentary way you seem to mean that phrase. Darin was, in
comparison, as mild (and entertaining) as a kitten.
To be fair, he does concede that "the lyrics in the original German are even more gruesome" and that Darin's version stood out (his performance as much as the lyrics) within the context of an era of "scrubbed teen idols" singing Mr Lonely and Why.
What he misses is that the lyrics had nothing to do with why the record was number one for 9 weeks.
Bill B
2018-11-19 14:08:48 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
What he misses is that the lyrics had nothing to do with why the record was number one for 9 weeks.
I beg to differ.
Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-19 14:59:47 UTC
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Post by Bill B
Post by SavoyBG
What he misses is that the lyrics had nothing to do with why the record
was number one for 9 weeks.
I beg to differ.
As, of course, do I.
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Roger Ford
2018-11-24 17:06:44 UTC
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On Sun, 18 Nov 2018 12:58:36 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Bobby Darin =E2=80=93 =E2=80=9CMack The Knife=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: October 5, 1959
STAYED AT #1: 9 weeks
Here's how it did in the 1959 Singles Battle

R1 Darin 25
Sarah Vaughan - Misty 2

2 Darin 19
Hank Ballard & Midnighters - I'll Keep You Happy 4

3 Olympics - (Baby) Hully Gully 10
Darin 18

4 Darin 16
Eternals - Babalu's Wedding Day 13

5 Clovers - Love Potion No. 9 19
Darin 11

ROGER FORD
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