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.
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