Mack the Knife Bobby Darin.jpg

Billboard #1 Hits- #20- “Mack The Knife”- Bobby Darin- October 5, 1959 #1 for 9 weeks.  One of the biggest hits of the era- it was #1 for 9 from October 5- to November 16 when The Fleetwoods “Mr. Blue” took #1 for a week- then Mack was back in town at #1 until December 14th. Written by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht for the 1928 music drama The Threepenny Opera.  Genre: Pop. Time: 3:04. B-side:”Was There A Call For Me” Grade: A+

“Mack The Knife” is a standard that has been covered by numerous artists over the years but the most famous version is this one by Bobby Darin.  The song has had a number of chart appearances during the rock era- Dick Hyman Trio #8 in 1956, Richard Hayman and Jan August #11 in 1956, that crazy pioneer of punk rock- Lawrence Welk #17 in 1956,  the great Louis Armstrong #20 in 1956, Billy Vaughn #37 in 1956, Les Paul #59 in 1956- Darin’s #1 in 1959, Ella Fitzgerald #27 in 1960. Simon Cowell has named it the best song ever written. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Darin’s version at # 251 on their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.  Darin won a Grammy for Best Record for the song in 1959. Dick Clark had advised Darin not to record it-because coming from an opera it might not appeal to a rock and roll audience. What a Dick. Frank Sinatra would record it late in his recording career and call Darin’s version ‘the definitive version’ of the song. No arguing here.

7 responses to “BILLBOARD #1 HITS: #20: “MACK THE KNIFE”- BOBBY DARIN- OCTOBER 5, 1959

  1. That’s pretty high praise from “the chairman of the board.” I agree with him. (Sinatra was surprisingly nice about praising worthy singers.) Nobody does Mack the Knife better. Bobby Darin was great wasn’t he? A tragic figure. He lived his short life in very bad health. His aspiration was to be bigger than Sinatra. He was very ambitious and had many of the same friends as Sinatra did–meaning he was “acquainted” with the mob–to put it nicely. Not as good of a singer as Sinatra, I don’t think, but an equal in overall talent.

    • Darin was great! He was one of those singers who could master songs in many styles. Tragic life story and early death. A great talent.. Yes I always liked how Sinatra would spread praise of other singers and songwriters -making sure to always give songwriters credit!

    • I am not 100 percent sure but 99 percent sure he didn’t write any songs. But he sure was great at picking songs to cover and making them his own.

    • Yes. I think he was probably the best at that. Billy Holiday was his favorite singer. He said he learned how to interpret a song from listening to her. So, I have to take that back. Next to Billie Holiday, I think he was the best “cover” artist. Holiday wrote “Strange Fruit.” I don’t know of anything else she wrote.

    • Can’t argue with that- I’ve never thought of What was the best single of 1959 but this may have been it– and it was extremely popular also.

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