I was first introduced to the song two years ago, when I was involved in a cabaret/ variety night at my college. A charming Malaysian man did a classic jazzy version of the song just before I was due on stage to do an original beat poem (I get these ideas in my head sometimes, and they are almost always bad). I then did a subject at uni on the history of cabaret (the subject was called Cabaret!, exclamation mark included) and we did an entire lecture on the song. Since then, it's popped up in a bunch of different places and it's always astounded me just how many versions there are. And that is why I have decided to compile this (by no means comprehensive) list of different covers. Bear in mind I'm sorting things totally based on my own biases, so, yeah.
If you don't know the song, here's the basic wikipedia description: ""Mack the Knife" or "The Ballad of Mack the Knife", originally "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer", is a song composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for their music drama Die Dreigroschenoper, or, as it is known in English, The Threepenny Opera. It premiered in Berlin in 1928 at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm. The song has become a popular standard."
The song is interesting in that basically every version has a slightly different interpretation of the lyrics. Sometimes the lyrics included/ removed can make a big difference to the tone of the song, and sometimes it's the way it's played. Anyway, let's kick things off with THE GOOD:
Now, I don't want to spoil the surprise of Fitzgerald's total awesomeness, but if it's the only way to convince you to watch it: she forgets the lyrics halfway through and starts pretending to be Louis Armstrong, and it's amazing. Maybe not the greatest version of the song, but still basically the greatest thing ever.
The Psychedelic Furs
The Young Gods
The Muppet Show
So, yeah, there is a tiny, tiny fraction of the vast number of versions of "Mack the Knife". Honourable mentions to The Doors and Sting for their excellent versions, and of course Kurt Weill's wife Lotte Lenya (track down her version where she's singing with Louis Armstrong and he keeps interrupting her to tell her how to properly sing the song her own husband wrote).
And now I shall actually go to bed!
That is a lie. I am probably going to browse tumblr and eat Pringles.