How The Doors Perceived Kurt Weill

Sixty years after his death, Weill's music continues to be performed both in popular and classical contexts.(Photo: Unknown. Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive))
Sixty years after his death, Weill's music continues to be performed both in popular and classical contexts.(Photo: Unknown. Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive))

So often we separate our love of music into categories – classical, pop, jazz, rock – but a song that most fans of ’60s rock group The Doors attributed to the fertile and somewhat warped mind of lead singer Jim Morrison came from the fertile and equally warped minds of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht.

I was reminded of this, not by one of my music-loving friends, but by a VH1 special about their self-titled 1967 debut album. Though “Light My Fire” was their big hit on that recording, Jim Morrison found a connection with a man who was no stranger to the Billboard Hot 100.

Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald each recorded it, but it was Bobby Darin’s classic rendition of “Mack the Knife,” which hit the pop charts in 1958, that put Weill’s tune on everyone’s lips.

Here’s your chance to compare Weill and Brecht’s original invention of “Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)” with the version as filtered through the collective mind of Jim Morrison and The Doors.

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