Die Moritat von Mackie Messer – Mack The Knife

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Have you ever read the lyrics to ‘Die Moritat von Mackie Messer’ [Mack the Knife]?

The lyrics were written by Bertolt Brecht for Kurt Weill’s ‘Threepenny Opera’ that premiered in Berlin 1928.

Reading these you can begin to understand why Simon Cowell has proclaimed it the best song ever written…

Oh the shark has pretty teeth dear
And he shows them pearly white
Just a jackknife has Macheath dear
And he keeps it out of sight

When the shark bites with his teeth dear
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy gloves though wears Macheath dear
So there’s not a trace of red

On the side walk Sunday mornin’
Lies a body oozing life
Someone sneakin’ round the corner
Is that someone Mack the Knife

From a tugboat by the river
A cement bag’s droppin’ down
The cement’s just for the weight dear
Bet’ya Mackies back in town

Louie Miller disappeared dear
After drawing out his cash
And Macheath spends like a sailor
Did our boy do something rash

Suky Tawdry, Jenny Diver
Polly Peachum, Lucy Brown
Oh the line forms on the right dears
Now that Mackies back in town

Oh the shark has pretty teeth dear
And he shows them pearly white
Just a jackknife has Macheath dear
And he keeps it out of sight
Just a jackknife has Macheath dear
And he keeps it out of sight

[and the lesser known final verse that Brecht added for the 1931 film of the opera]

There are some who are in darkness
And the others are in light
And you see the ones in brightness
Those in darkness drop from sight

These lyrics have been warped quite alot as different artists have covered the song you get a much more gritty impression from the 1931 film:

Download / listen here

Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington – Mack The Knife
Dave Van Ronk – Mack The Knife

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