The song “Mack the Knife” as sung by Bobby Darin is a great golden oldie.. Kurt Weil wrote the music and Bertolt Brecht penned the lyrics to “Mack the Knife” for their musical drama of murder The Threepenny Opera. Bobby Darin’s version of the song was a hit in 1959, going to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Cashbox, and U.K. singles Charts. It went #6 on the R&B Chart. Arranger Richard Weis took the concept of building a song to new heights by starting the record with the sparse sounds of a few horns, bass, and drums . Weiss then used a series of modulations and big band counter-melodies to build the record. Each verse adds a new section of the band, and by the end they are roaring. Darin’s voice powerfully commands all of that ruckus.
Darin was born Walden Robert Cassotto in The Bronx, New York, in 1936. He began as a songwriter and wrote songs for artists such as Connie Francis. “Splish Splash” was own first million-selling record. He had other hits with “Dream Lover,” “Mack the Knife,” and “Beyond the Sea.” He was a singer and played several instruments, including the guitar, piano, and drums. His music crossed a number of genres — rock and roll, jazz, blues, pop, swing. Darin appeared in several films. He was in Come September and If a Man Answers with Sandra Dee, whom he married in 1960. In the 1960s, he was politically active and worked on Robert Kennedy’s campaign for president. He died in 1973 at the age of 37. He had health issues throughout his life, as the rheumatic fever he had as a child weakened his heart.