[Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's Pirate Jenny from The Threepenny Opera (1928)] "Each phrase comes at you from a ten-foot drop, scuttles across the road and then another one comes like a punch on the chin. And then there's always that ghost chorus about the black ship that steps in, fences it all off and locks it up tighter than a drum. It's a nasty song, sung by an evil fiend, and when she's done singing, there's not a word to say. It leaves you breathless. In the small theater when the performance reached its climactic end the entire audience was stunned, sat back and clutched their collective solar plexus."
Pirate Jenny You people can watch while I'm scrubbing these floors And I'm scrubbin' the floors while you're gawking Maybe once ya tip me and it makes ya feel swell In this crummy Southern town In this crummy old hotel But you'll never guess to who you're talkin'. No. You couldn't ever guess to who you're talkin'. Then one night there's a scream in the night And you'll wonder who could that have been And you see me kinda grinnin' while I'm scrubbin' And you say, "What's she got to grin?" I'll tell you. There's a ship The Black Freighter with a skull on its masthead will be coming in You gentlemen can say, "Hey gal, finish them floors! Get upstairs! What's wrong with you! Earn your keep here! You toss me your tips and look out to the ships But I'm counting your heads as I'm making the beds Cuz there's nobody gonna sleep here, honey Nobody Nobody! Then one night there's a scream in the night And you say, "Who's that kicking up a row?" And ya see me kinda starin' out the winda And you say, "What's she got to stare at now?" I'll tell ya. There's a ship The Black Freighter turns around in the harbor shootin' guns from her bow Now You gentlemen can wipe off that smile off your face Cause every building in town is a flat one This whole frickin' place will be down to the ground Only this cheap hotel standing up safe and sound And you yell, "Why do they spare that one?" Yes. That's what you say. "Why do they spare that one?" All the night through, through the noise and to-do You wonder who is that person that lives up there? And you see me stepping out in the morning Looking nice with a ribbon in my hair And the ship The Black Freighter runs a flag up its masthead and a cheer rings the air By noontime the dock is a-swarmin' with men comin' out from the ghostly freighter They move in the shadows where no one can see And they're chainin' up people and they're bringin' em to me askin' me, "Kill them NOW, or LATER?" Askin' ME! "Kill them now, or later?" Noon by the clock and so still by the dock You can hear a foghorn miles away And in that quiet of death I'll say, "Right now. Right now!" Then they'll pile up the bodies And I'll say, "That'll learn ya!" And the ship The Black Freighter disappears out to sea And on it is me