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Song Lyrics in German and English
Hildegard Knef - MACKIE MESSER - English

NOTE: The original German song lyrics are provided for educational use only. No infringement of copyright is implied or intended. - This English translation by Hyde Flippo is more literal than poetic, and is intended as an educational aid.


This classic Bertolt Brecht song (music by Kurt Weill) is from "Die Dreigroschenoper," which was first performed in Berlin in 1928. The now classic "Mack the Knife" is just one of several popular tunes from the "Threepenny Opera." Knef's version only uses six verses of the eleven in the original "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer." Marc Blitzstein wrote an English adaptation of the "Threepenny Opera" in 1954. Lotte Lenya appeared in that off-Broadway production (and in the original Berlin production). Louis Armstrong made his famous version of "Mack the Knife" in 1955. Bobby Darin's version was a hit in 1959. [Note: Bertolt Brecht's (1898-1956) lyrics are an adaptation of Elisabeth Hauptmann's German translation of John Gay's "The Beggar's Opera."]

See our CD page for links to Knef's music on CD and as streaming RealAudio.

Mack the Knife

NOTE: This translation is NOT the Marc Blitzstein English version made popular by Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin, and others. It is a literal translation of the original German.

And the shark, he has teeth
And he wears them in his face
And MacHeath, he has a knife
But the knife you don't see

On a beautiful blue Sunday
Lies a dead man on the Strand*
And a man goes around the corner
Whom they call Mack the Knife

And Schmul Meier is missing
And many a rich man
And his money has Mack the Knife,
On whom they can't pin anything.

Jenny Towler was found
With a knife in her chest
And on the wharf walks Mack the Knife,
Who knows nothing about all this.

And the minor-aged widow,
Whose name everyone knows,
Woke up and was violated
Mack, what was your price?

And some are in the darkness
And the others in the light
But you only see those in the light
Those in the darkness you don't see

But you only see those in the light
Those in the darkness you don't see

  *Strand - Name of a street in London, not the German word for "beach."

> Blitzstein English Translation

> Original German Version

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