The Tango-Ballad (original German title Zuhalterballade) is a song from The Threepenny Opera. The title has been translated with various other titles- "The Ballad of Immoral Earnings", "The Pimp's Ballad", "Knocking-Shop Tango", etc.

It has been filked as part of SUES: The Musical! four times- twice by Megan and twice by Mira. As an unofficial theme song, it now appears on the Freewebs entrance page to the board.

Original Lyrics Edit

This version of the song comes from the 1994 London Donmar Warehouse recording.


So long ago,

And oh, so far away!

I can't remember what we

Used to be.

The mists of time

Have made it hard to see,

But I loved her,

And she made love for me!

A strange arrangement?

We managed okay.

The punters came and went-

And when they came, they went.

I took my cut,

And the remainder paid the rent.

It was perfection for my baby and me

When she had company,

I'd make them tea.

It was the sweetest place there's ever been-

Our little knocking-shop in Bethnal Green.


So far away,

And oh, so long ago!

Perhaps those days have faded-

Hard to tell.

And no-one there

Would dare to cross Macheath

When I complained,

You punched me in the teeth!

Yes, you were brutal.

Perhaps it was Hell.

There was his gambling and all the bills to pay,

So I talked dirty over thirty times a day

While I faked passion 'til it made me sore,

He'd take the cash and make me work for more

I never knew that you could be so mean

As in that knocking-shop in Bethnal Green...


Since that fine day,

So many have gone by


We have our share of wrinkles,

You and I


When you were mine,

The world was full of song


Perhaps it was fine

Til everything went wrong

We had the baby

But it didn't last long

When I fell pregnant, it was festive for a day


But then we thought it best to wash it all away


The drunken doctor showed us what to do


We took the mess and put it down the loo


And for a while, a smile was rarely seen

Around that knocking-shop in Bethnal Green