Tune du Jour: “Mack the Knife” – Bobby Darrin
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Nick Cave vs. Lyle Lovett
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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"Free markets will not prevail without unfettered competition among cover songs." - Milton Friedbyrd

“Free markets will not prevail without unfettered competition among cover songs.” – Milton Friedbyrd

Moritat von Mackie Messer is a song written by Bertolt Brecht and composed by Kurt Weill for their play Die DreigroschenoperDie Dreigroschenoper premiered in Berlin in 1928. The opening song, Moritat von Mackie Messer, was originally sung by actor Kurt Gerron.

In 1954 Marc Blitzstein translated Die Dreigroschenoper into English  (i.e. The Threepenny Opera) and the play enjoyed a six-year run Off-Broadway. It is Blitzstein’s translation that became the basis for the popularized American song, Mack the Knife.

In 1954, Louis Armstrong was the first musician to score a hit with Mack the Knife. Of course, Bobby Darrin’s Mack the Knife, recorded in 1959, set an unparalleled standard of excellence for the song. Another popular version of Mack the Knife is Ella Fitzgerald’s 1960 live version. After the first verse poor Ella forgot the rest of the song. Yet Ella’s amazing improvisation thereafter earned her a Grammy for the performance.

Die Dreigroschenoper: Moritat von Mackie Messer

Kurt Gerron (1928):


Mack the Knife

Louis Armstrong (1954):


Bobby Darrin (1959):


Ella Fitzgerald (1960):


THE CLASH of Cover Songs


Nick Cave vs. Lyle Lovett


Nick Cave (1995):

Nick Cave holds the distinction of being CMI’s Reigning Exultant Virtuosic Performer of “Mack the Knife“. Additionally, Nick Cave is a recipient of CMI’s universally coveted title of Bi-Victor Melodious Maximus in Adversarial Replication. Among the title’s myriad of rewards and benefits, perhaps most desirous is that it bestows upon the recipient the eminently yearned for privilege of having one’s name appear in print media in orange.

Nick Cave’s triumphal exploits in CMI’s THE CLASH of Cover Tunes competitions are detailed below:

11/9/2013 – “Moritat von Mackie Messer” (Bertolt Brecht & Kurt Weil) – Nick Cave (86%) shellacks The Psychedelic Furs (14%)

10/6/2013 – “Suzanne” (Leonard Cohen) – Nick Cave with Perla Batella & Julie Christenson (83%) quash Geoffrey Oryema (17%)

This is shortened version of Nick Cave’s rendition that I included solely for the Caveman’s stellar choreography:

Lyle Lovett (1994):

Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?



Votes can be cast up to seven days from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

  1. RDubbs says:

    Cave would be the natural choice.

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