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Video: Bette Midler Sings “Pirate Jenny” Carnegie Hall 120th Anniversary


Bette Midler at Carnegie Hall 120th Anniversary
Bette Midler at Carnegie Hall’s 120th Anniversary


In 2011, James was honored by Carnegie Hall with a four-part James Taylor “Perspectives” series of concerts which included James curating and hosting the 120th Anniversary Carnegie Hall Gala on April 12, 2011. The gala fundraiser that evening benefited the education programs of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute.

In this performance, Bete Midler sings the song “Pirate Jenny” by Kurt Weill. “Pirate Jenny” is a well-known song from The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill, with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht. The English lyrics are by Marc Blitzstein. It is considered the second most famous song in the opera, after “Mack the Knife”.

Bette Midler sings Pirate Jenny

  • Vince Bruce,
  • Barbara Cook
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  • Kevin Pollak
  • Dianne Reeves
  • @Sting,
  • Members of Tanglewood Festival Chorus
  • Other surprises

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Bette Midler sings “Pirate Jenny”

Pirate Jenny by Kurt Weill


You people can watch while I’m scrubbing these floors
And I’m scrubbing these floors while you’re gawking
Maybe once you tip me and it makes you feel swell
In this crummy Southern town
In this crummy old hotel
But you’ll never guess to who you’re talking
No, You couldn?t ever guess to who you’re talking


There’s a ship
The black freighter
With a skull on its mast-head
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 to the ships
But I’m counting your heads as I’m making the beds
’cause there’s nobody gonna sleep here tonight
Nobody?s gonna sleep here.
Nobody
Nobody.

Then one night there’s a scream in the night
And you say: ‘Who’s that kicking up a row?’
And you see me kinda staring out the window
And you say: ‘What she got to stare at now ?’
I’ll tell ya:

There’s a ship
The black freighter
Turns around in the harbor
Shooting guns from her bow

Well you gentlemen can wipe those smiles off your face
’cause every building in town is a flat one
This whole frigging 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 the hell do they spare that one ?’

All the night through the noise and to do
And 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 a ship
The black freighter
Runs a flag up its mast-head
And a cheer rings the air.

By noon-time, the dock is a swarming with men
Coming out from the ghostly freighter
They’re moving in the shadows where no-one can see
And they’re chaining up people
And delivering ’em to me
Asking me: ‘Kill them now or later?’
Asking me: ‘Kill them now or later?’

Noon by the clock and so still at the dock
You can hear a foghorn miles away
And in that quiet of death I’ll say:
‘Right now !’
‘Right now !’
And they pile up the bodies
And I’ll say: ‘That’ll learn you.
That’ll learn you.’

And the ship
The black freighter Disappears out to sea And on it is me!

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2 thoughts on “Video: Bette Midler Sings “Pirate Jenny” Carnegie Hall 120th Anniversary

  1. I have read that “Pirate Jenny” was one of the songs Bette used to sing from time to time in her early career (maybe at the Baths?) and I have always wished she would have recorded it. It is such a great number for her Divine Miss M persona and you can see here what fun she has doing it. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Don, I appreciate it!

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