Treasure Island

Bertolt Brecht

(10 February 1898 – 14 August 1956 / Augsburg)

Alabama Song


Show me the way to the next whisky bar
Oh, don't ask why, oh, don't ask why
Show me the way to the next whisky bar
Oh, don't ask why, oh, don't ask why
For if we don't find the next whisky bar
I tell you we must die
I tell you we must die
I tell you
I tell you
I tell you we must die

Oh, moon of Alabama
We now must say say good-bye
We've lost our good old mamma
And must have whisky
Oh, you know why.

Show me the way to the next pretty girl
Oh, don't ask why, oh, don't ask why
Show me the way to the next pretty girl
Oh don't ask why, oh, don't ask why
For if we don't find the next pretty girl
I tell you we must die
I tell you we must die
I tell you
I tell you
I tell you we must die

Oh, moon of Alabama
We now must say good-bye
We've lost our good old mamma
And must have a girl
Oh, you know why.

Show me the way to the next little dollar
Oh, don't ask why, oh, don't ask why
Show me the way to the next little dollar
Oh, don't ask why, oh, don't ask why
For if we don't find the next little dollar
I tell you we must die
I tell you we must die
I tell you
I tell you
I tell you we must die

Oh, moon of Alabama
We now must say good-bye
We've lost our good old mamma
And must have dollars
Oh, you know why.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Jan Bo Sørensen (4/30/2013 7:40:00 AM)

    Above text is actually wrong. Show me the way to the next pretty girl should be Show us the way to the next pretty boy. The girl part was a change made by Jim Morrisson of The Doors much later. (Report) Reply

  • Andrew Hoellering (12/2/2009 6:17:00 AM)

    Useful comments.I would only add that this demonstrates the mighty part played by Weill's music in bringing Brecht's lyrics to life. As with Irving Berlin or Cole Porter, the musical accompanyment is indispensable. (Report) Reply

  • Happolati Ylajali (2/19/2007 4:10:00 PM)

    @ Lange Winckler

    The music of the Alabama Song is of course NOT by Hindemith, but by the great German composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950) . The lyrics are attributed to Bertolt Brecht, but they are most likely writtten by Elisabeth Hauptmann. (Report) Reply

  • Lange Winckler (6/5/2004 4:35:00 PM)

    This is perhaps the most memorable of the song lyrics written by Brecht for his experimental musical, 'The Rise and Fall of the City Mahagonny.' The music by Paul Hindemith was the only time the two men collaborated.

    The musical was a sardonic commentary on a world ruled by money and its influence. Brecht, who was perhaps the best of all the Communist ideologues writing for theater, constantly poked at social customs of both fascists and capitalists, and he did not fail to lampoon Communism's failures, either. In this song, he depicts the shallow values of those who pursue only money and pleasure.

    In the play from which this song came, Brecht predicts the excesses and materialism of Las Vegas. He wrote this piece decades before Las Vegas became the place it is today, but he would have clapped his hands and laughed in malicious glee. The play is long, long overdue for a revival, but it needs a much better translation first. This song, by the way, was originally written in English, a rare departure for Brecht! (Report) Reply

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