This Week’s Weekly Obsession is the song “Moon of Alabama”
otherwise known as the “Alabama Song,” “Moon over Alabama,” and “Whisky Bar.”
Back in college while searching for something exciting to take outside of my English and History studies, I decided to take a Musicology course that went over the history of musicals. I was always entertained by movie musicals. I was a religious Disnerd and I’ve found people dancing and breaking out in song magical (contrary to the rest of my immediate family).
But the musicology course seriously turned me on to stage musicals–the years of work and planning that goes into them and how they’ve evolved over the years. I got somewhat familiar with the works of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill throughout most of 1920-1930 Germany. We particularly talked about their work with The Threepenny Opera and how their socialist leanings forced them into exile when the Nazis came into power.
“Moon of Alabama” is another one of their songs which featured in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (1930). But like most things I love, it was only through a rather roundabout way that I learned so.
I first got turned on to the song by obsessively listening to the backlog of the You Must Remember This Podcast (another obsession!) which used The Door’s version of it as an outro. I looked into it and soon found myself in the Youtube rabbit hole of cover versions that range from David Bowie to Marianne Faithfull. Around the same time, I found myself revisiting the Brecht/Weill’s songs and fell in love with the voice of Lotte Lenya.
I’ll include The Doors version of it as well below since that was the one I originally fell in love with.