Darin decided to perform this song when he saw a production of The Threepenny Opera
in Greenwich Village in 1958. He thought up his own way of presenting the song, and started performing it in his nightclub act, where it was well received. The song was included on Darin's album That's All
, which was released in March 1959. In May of that year, Darin's "Dream Lover
" became a huge hit, and demand was building for "Mack The Knife," which was growing increasingly popular thanks to Darin's nightclub performances and sales of the album. Darin, however, had a teen idol image to uphold, and a song from the '20s about a murderous sot could derail that train quickly. He was recording for Atlantic Records, who made lots of good decisions, and label boss Ahmet Ertegun ordered it released as a single. Finally, in late August, the single came out and was a massive hit. Whatever teen idol cred Darin scrubbed, he more than made up for in adult appeal, as the song introduced him to an audience that went well beyond "Splish Splash
." He became a regular on various TV shows, played a lot of high-end resorts and became the youngest headliner at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, where he was once a busboy. The song's success also earned him a second spot on The Ed Sullivan Show
, where he made a total of six appearances.