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Bobby Darin: "Mack the Knife" Live

Darin's ridiculous live performance made the most of the eerie violence of the song by being so straight-up cheerful.

Louis Armstrong: "Mack the Knife" Live (1956)

Before Darin, Armstrong was really the first to have the idea to seriously jazz up "Mack the Knife."

Ella Fitzgerald: "Mack the Knife" Live (1960)

In a now-legendary performance, Fitzgerald forgot the lyrics part way through the song and came up with her own on the spot.

Frank Sinatra: "Mack the Knife" Live (1993)

Darin's was the defining hit, but Frank Sinatra was a direct inspiration to Darin, especially in terms of that baudy-yet-smooth performance style.

Bing Crosby: "Mack the Knife" (1957)

Everybody did this song! This is maybe the jazziest and the sleaziest version, and it might just be our favorite.

"Mac Tonight!"

A terrible thing happened to "Mack the Knife" on the way to the 1990s. This 1980s video clip should not surprise you, and you may even find it funny. But do not doubt that it will come back to haunt you should you bow to its demands.

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