Bobby Darin

1959 - 2009


"Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear..."
While other performers like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong had popular recordings of this song, when you hear those lyrics, the first person you think of is Bobby Darin. With the critical, decisive actions of Harriet Wasser and creative collaboration with Richard Wess, Bobby Darin proved he was a consummate performer. "Mack" truly does belong to Bobby!

MACK FACTS

  • "Mack" was recorded on December 19, 1958 & first appeared on the LP, THAT'S ALL.

  • It was later released as a single in August 1959.

  • It was the #5 song of the 1955-59 Rock Era and was #1 for 9 weeks in 1959.

  • After 32 years of rock (1955 to 1987) Mack was the 6th biggest hit of the era.

  • "MTK" was the 14th most popular single in Billboards HOT 100 History.

  • Bobby's version of "Mack the Knife" was selected as RECORD OF THE YEAR in 1959.


  • MACK LINKS

  • Here's a bit of history on the album THAT'S ALL, which contained "Mack the Knife."

  • The Track Listing for THAT'S ALL shows "Mack" as the first song on side one.

  • Look on this page to see the Grammy Award Letter sent to Bobby announcing that "Mack" had won Record of the Year!

  • Check out the words to "Mack the Knife" on the Lyrics Page and sing along with BD.

  • Take a listen to Bobby Darin Singing & Swinging .

  • This page, The Magic of Bobby Darin, contains "Mack" interviews by Jimmy Scalia with Harriet Wasser and Steve Blauner.

  • Where can I find "Mack the Knife?" Here's a List of CDs where you can find this #1 hit .

  • Visit Rotunda Jewelers for your very own "Mack" 50th Anniversary memento. A $20 donation will be made from each purchase to the Children's Heart Foundation.



  • MACK EXCERPTS - BOOKS

  • Dreamlovers ... "Sometime in 1958 my dad saw a production of Brecht-Weill’s Threepenny Opera in a theater in Greenwich Village. It was a remake of a turn-of-the-century play called Moritat and had a grisly theme of murder and mayhem. Not the usual background for a pop standard. But one song in the play piqued my dad’s interest: 'Mack the Knife.' My dad had heard Louis Armstrong’s rendering of this song, and he liked it, so he started singing 'Mack' on tour from June 1958 on. The audience didn’t go wild for the song at the time, but 'Mack' had gotten under Bobby’s skin." ...

  • Borrowed Time ... "Bobby had been singing ‘Mack the Knife’ in his nightclub routine for almost a year, with only tepid audience reaction. But this was before Harriet Wasser pulled off another coup. She ran into an old friend of hers, conductor/arranger Richard Wess, and she pitched her boy so convincingly that eventually he agreed to work on some arrangements for Bobby’s new album. When the three of them got together to brainstorm, Bobby brought up ‘Mack.’ Sitting on the piano bench with Wess, Bobby sang ‘Mack’ a cappella using an arrangement he had in mind. Within days, Wess came up with a treatment so extraordinary that Darin himself was floored" ...

  • Dreamlovers ... Ahmet picks up the story: "As we were cutting 'Mack the Knife' on the first date, there was no doubt in anybody’s mind. Everyone knew that this was going to be a number one record. Then I realized that having done the rock thing, Bobby was now going to have a big pop hit. He’s going to become a major, major star, which eventually happened. But we knew as we were cutting it. We were jumping up and down. After the first take, I said, ‘You’ve got it! That’s it." ...

  • Roman Candle ... “Bobby initially recorded 'Mack' with three other songs on an EP -- an extended play album of four sides, very much in currency in the ‘50’s. Al Kasha, two-time Academy Award winning composer, recalls that Bobby’s determination was so great that he paid for the EP himself." ...


  • MACK EXCERPTS - ARTICLES & INTERVIEWS

  • The Boy Who Didn't Belong ... "Bobby cut loose on that album called, THAT'S ALL. In it, he did ballads, swing tunes, standard pop songs and that offbeat number from Threepenny Opera called 'Mack the Knife.'Some disc jockeys first played it out of curiosity alone. They wanted to find out just what kind of a fool this restricted rock 'n' roller had made of himself. They played it again because they liked it, and they kept on playing 'Mack' until it was issued as a single and swiftly went to number one. Bobby Darin had become an entertainer." ...

  • Rock Singer or Cabaret Crooner? ... "In record industry parlance, 'follow-up' often means more than the next record. The term hints at well-tried formulas, repeated patterns that have proved successful in the past. But the only sense in which Bobby Darin's next single, 'Mack the Knife,' was a follow-up was that it came out as 'Dream Lover' finally dropped out of the charts. Stylistically, it was a startling turn around. The song itself was 30 years old, a Kurt Weill composition from Berthold Brecht's Threepenny Opera ... Darin clicked his fingers and made it number 1 in the chart's. His approach was so hip that it bordered on a parody of the cool crooners rock'n'roll had swamped." ...

  • Regards to Broadway ... "In 1958, after seven duds, I did 'Splish Splash,' about a guy relaxing in a tub. He steps out forgetting he'd invited a crowd of people over for a party. It was my first hit, and it sold about 7,000,000 copies. The next year, I made 'Mack the Knife' and all kinds of things began to happen." ...

  • The David Frost Interview ... "Oh, the biggest was unquestionably 'Mack.' (Applause from the audience) I really know how big it was, and this may seem slightly immodest, but I know how big it was because of the number of requests I get by people who have no idea what the title of the song is. For example, in the middle of anywhere they'll say, (Acting intoxicated)
    -- Hey sing 'Jack the Night,' 'Mack the Night' ... sing the 'Jack Night Song.' -- (Laughter from audience) So I really know it was that big. It really impressed people a great deal; they absolutely ask for it inaccurately, which is great ... As long as they're askin' for it, because I know what they mean." ...


  • "Look out old Macky is back!"

    THANK YOU, BOBBY!


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