Music by Kurt Weill
Lyrics by Bertolt Brecht (German),
Marc Blitzstein (English translation)
Date 1928 (German), 1954 (English)
Source The Threepenny Opera (musical)
Publisher Kurt Weill Fndt/Music Inc/WB; Weill Brecht Harms Company Inc.

"Mack the Knife" was originally written in German as "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer" for the musical Die Dreigroschenoper, or The Threepenny Opera, but has since been translated into English several times; the best-known translation is by Marc Blitzstein. The song is considered a swing standard and was first recorded in 1954, by Louis Armstrong. The most successful version on the American charts was by Bobby Darin in 1959. In 1960, Ella Fitzgerald won a Grammy for a live version of the song in which she ad-libbed the verses after forgetting the lyrics.

Dr. Teeth performed "Mack the Knife" as the UK Spot on episode 315 of The Muppet Show. Sam the Eagle, who was appalled at the song's grisly lyrics, had to be persuaded that the lyrics, which in truth are quite literal, were metaphors for more pleasant things.

It was also sung by Johnny Fiama on episode 107 of Muppets Tonight.


  • The song "Dancing with a Whale" from the "Elmo the Musical" segment, "Sea Captain the Musical," ends with the line, "Look out ol' Moby is back!" during the last few notes of the song. This references the ending of "Mack the Knife," which features the lyric, "Look out ol' Macky is back!" at the end.
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