From the Booking Desk:

Happy Holidays! Dru Ann, Lesa, and I have gathered together to present another “Triple” post. We may have strayed a bit from our usual coverage of books, but we are still talking about crime. Read on to find out how.

This time around, we are talking about songs that have some connection to crime. I thought long and hard and decided that these are some of my favorites songs and one in particular is fantastic. If you know me, you know it will be any performance by Michael Jackson. Can you guess what song I’m referring to?

# # # # # # # # # # #


Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht wrote this song in 1928 for the German play The Threepenny Opera. “Mack” is Macheath, the title character, portrayed as a criminal. The light melody can make this feel like an upbeat song, but it contrasts sharply with the lyrics, which are about a murderer.

“Mack the Knife” was introduced to the United States hit parade by Louis Armstrong in 1956, but the song is most closely associated with Bobby Darin, who recorded his version at Fulton Studios on West 40th Street, New York City, on December 19, 1958. Even though Darin was reluctant to release the song as a single, in 1959 it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and number six on the Black Singles chart, and earned him a Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Dick Clark had advised Darin not to record the song because of the perception that, having come from an opera, it wouldn’t appeal to the rock & roll audience. Billboard ranked this version as the No. 2 song for 1959. Darin’s version hit #3 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100. In 2003, the Darin version was ranked #251 on Rolling Stone’s “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list. Source: Wikepedia

My note: I remember the first time I heard this song. We were in gym class and learning a dance routine and our song selection was “Mack The Knife.” Oh what fun we had learning the steps and to this day I more or less remember some of the moves we did. As the song was playing, I did not pay attention to the words, but rather the beat and fell in love with Bobby Darin’s version.


# # # # # # # # # # #


“Smooth Criminal” is a song written by Michael Jackson and co-produced with Quincy Jones and is the seventh single from his 1987 Bad album. The song contains a fast-paced beat intertwined with Jackson’s lyrics about a woman named Annie, who has been violently attacked in her apartment by a “smooth” assailant. First broadcast on television as a video in early October, it was released as a single on October 21, 1988, and peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. The piece is one of Jackson’s signature songs, and has appeared on numerous greatest hits albums, including Number Ones, The Essential Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection, King of Pop, This Is It, and Immortal. The song serves as the theme song to Jackson’s 1988 film Moonwalker, and plays as the background soundtrack in a section of the video game Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker.

Jackson originally wanted to make the music video in the western genre, but he later decided after watching The Third Man with director Colin Chilvers to change it to a 1930s gangster style.[10] Film was shot between mid-February and April 1987. Jeffrey Daniel of the soul music group Shalamar co-choreographed the “Smooth Criminal” video with Jackson and Vincent Paterson, who was a back-up dancer in “Beat It” and “Thriller”. It was directed by special effects coordinator Colin Chilvers. The dance sequence of the video in the 1930s style lounge (and Michael’s white suit and fedora) pays tribute to the Fred Astaire musical comedy film The Band Wagon. Currently there are four different versions of the video for “Smooth Criminal”, as well as an additional vignette created for the 2009. Source: Wikepedia

My Note: I remember the first time I heard this song and I didn’t love it until I saw that 9-minute video performance and then I fell in love with this song. There is just something about the way Michael Jackson takes a song concept and makes it his own. He simply left us too soon.


# # # # # # # # # # #


“Theme from Shaft,” written and recorded by Isaac Hayes in 1971, is the soul and funk-styled theme song to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film, Shaft.[1] The theme was released as a single (shortened and edited from the longer album version) two months after the movie’s soundtrack by Stax Records’ Enterprise label. “Theme from Shaft” went to number two on the Billboard Soul Singles chart and to number one on the Billboard Hot 100[2] in the United States in November 1971. The song was also well received by adult audiences, reaching number six on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart.

The following year, “Theme from Shaft” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song,[1] with Hayes becoming the first African American to win that honor (or any Academy Award in a non-acting category), as well as the first recipient of the award to both write and perform the winning song. Since then, the song has appeared in numerous television shows, commercials, and other movies, including the 2000 sequel Shaft, for which Hayes re-recorded the song.[4][5] In 2004 the original finished at #38 in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema. Source: Wikepedia

My Note: I remember when I first heard this song with that beat and that phrase “shut your mouth.” We knew what he was going to say. When they made the movie starring Samuel L. Jackson, it gave this song another boost and it is one of my favorites.


# # # # # # # # # # #


With music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, this is another track from the musical vaudeville Chicago. In the film version it is performed largely by Richard Gere as sharp lawyer (and composite character) Billy Flynn at an ad hoc press conference after his client Roxie has just entered a plea of not guilty to murder. Well choreographed and with an original humorous take, the jury who acquitted murderess Beulah Annan – on whom Roxie Hart is based – were obviously just as impressed as the award winning musical’s audience with her (lawyer’s!) claim that they had both reached for the gun. Source: Wikepedia

My Note: I saw “Chicago” on Broadway and when it was made into a movie. and this was one of my favorite scenes from the movie. Enjoy.


# # # # # # # # # # #


“Jailhouse Rock” is a song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller that first became a hit for Elvis Presley. The song was released as a 45rpm single on September 24, 1957, to coincide with the release of Presley’s motion picture, Jailhouse Rock.

The song as recorded by Elvis Presley is #67 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and was named one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. In 2004, it finished at #21 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

Presley’s performance of the song in the film, choreographed as a dance routine involving himself and a large group of male prisoners, was featured among other classic MGM musical numbers in the 1994 documentary That’s Entertainment! III. The film version differs from the single version of the song, featuring backing instrumentation and vocals not heard on the record. Source: Wikepedia

My Note: This is one of my favorite Elvis Presley’s song and performance. Love the swaggle.

From the Booking Desk:

How fun was that? Eager to hear some more songs about crime? Journey over to Lesa’s Book Critiques and Dru’s Book Musings to see what Lesa and I chose.