Thanks to Stan Klees, co-founder of RPM Music Weekly and the Juno Awards, imagineer, broadcaster, record producer and entertainment entrepreneur, lives, in Toronto, for insight about Bobby Darin.
Click here to watch Bobby Darin sing "Splish Splash." This performance is reputedly his last.
Click here to watch Bobby Darin sing "Mack the Knife." The song has an interesting history. "Die Moritat vom Mackie Messer," its German title, was written to placate a temperamental performer, Harald Paulsen, who portrayed MacHeath, the main character, in a German musical comedy, "Die Dreigroschenoper." Marc Blitzstein (1905-1964) translated the song as "Mack the Knife."
"Die Dreigroschenoper," literally, is "The Threepenny Opera." A groschen is the German equivalent of a penny. "Die Dreigroschenoper" premiered 31 August 1928, in Berlin.
Written by dramatist, Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), and composer, Kurt Weill (1900-1950), "Die Dreigroschenoper" is a well-devised socialist commentary of capitalism. The story-line borrows from "The Beggar's Opera," an 18th century ballad opera, by John Gay. Bertolt and Weill are more intense, more vicious, than Gay. Its comedy hides ruthless satire, worthy of Groucho and Bill Hicks.
In 1956, "The Threepenny Opera" began an off-broadway run. The female lead, "Polly," was performed by Lotte Lenya (1898-1981), wife of Weill. Lenya is best known for her portrayal of Rosa Klebb, the Russia spy in "From Russia with Love" (1964).
The original title, of "Mack the Knife," was the "Murder Ballad" a somber dirge. Darin re-arranged the song, creating an up-beat, joyous and warm-hearted story. Darin, predicted to live, at best, to age 25, because of childhood bouts with Rheumatic Fever, fittingly mocked death in his version of "Mack the Knife."
The irony is a rant, a rage, against capitalism and its savage exploitation of the working class was an ultra capitalist success. In 1959, "Mack the Knife" was the number one selling record. For Darin, the recording solidifying his career as a bankable entertainer.
Click here to watch Bobby Darin sing "Dream Lover, " in 1959.
Click here to watch Bobby Darin sing "If I were a Carpenter," the Tim Hardin song. May be the best performance, of Darin, captured on video, and the best version of this Tim Hardin song.
Streeter Click is editor of GrubStreet.ca.
Click above to tell a friend about this article.