7. Mack the Knife, from The Threepenny Opera
“Mack the Knife” was composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht. Louis Armstrong popularly introduced the song to America audiences in 1956, but it is Bobby Darin who is most closely associated with the song. Darin’s recording reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and number six on the Black Singles chart in 1959. And he won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Bobby Darin’s version of the song later achieved recognition of Billboard’s All Time Top 100 in the number 3 spot.
Ella Fitzgerald also recorded “Mack the Knife.” In her live recording, Fitzgerald forgot the lyrics to the song and improvised her own. The performance earned her a Grammy Award.
6. And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going, from Dream Girls
Both Jennifer Holliday, who originated the role of Effie in Dream Girls on Broadway, and Jennifer Hudson, who starred as Effie in the 2006 film adaptation, were made famous by this show-stopping tune. The song, with music by Henry Krieger and lyrics by Tom Eyen, has become synonymous with their names, and the two are likely to perform the song for the rest of their careers. In 1981, Holliday won a Tony Award for her performance in Dream Girls and later won a Grammy Award for her number-one R&B hit. Hudson scored equally high honors when she received the 2006 Academy Award. Her recording of the song became a Top 20 R&B singles and a number-one dance hit.
5. Hello, Dolly!, from Hello, Dolly!
The song is from the 1964 musical of the same name. Louis Armstrong popularized the it, with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman. “Hello, Dolly!” was first sung by Carol Channing, who starred as Dolly Gallagher Levi in the Broadway production. But, even before the show’s Broadway premiere, Louis Armstrong recorded the song to promote the show. When David Merrick heard Louis Armstrong’s recording of the title track he decided to change the name of his show from “Dolly, A Damned Exasperating Woman” to Hello, Dolly! Louis Armstrong’s rendition of “Hello, Dolly” reached number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 list the week of May 9, 1964, edging out The Beatles’ “Do You Want to Know a Secret” and breaking a streak of three number one Beatles’ hits in a row. The recording also earned Armstrong a Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1965 and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001.