"Pirate Jenny" was introduced by Roma Bahn in the original Berlin production of The Threepenny Opera on August 31, 1928. It has since been recorded by artists as diverse as Lotte Lenya, Nina Simone, Betty Buckley, and actress Ellen Greene. Faithfull would re-record the song in a year, accompanied this time by Dennis Russell Davies conducting the Vienna Radio Orchestra.
Lotte Lenya's German-language recording of the "Salomon Song" (also from The Threepenny Opera) is featured on the soundtrack for the film The Savages (2007). She was to have introduced the song in the original 1928 Berlin staging of Threepenny, however it was cut from the show prior to opening night. (It has subsequently been restored.)
"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" had previously been recorded by Faithfull on her 1987 album Strange Weather.
"Complainte de la Seine" is performed in the original French.
"Mack the Knife" is the moritat from The Threepenny Opera, where it was introduced in the original Berlin production by Kurt Gerron. Faithfull performs it here in Irish playwright Frank McGuiness's English language translation (as she does all the Threepenny material on the album), as she had recently performed the role of Jenny in a staging of the McGuiness translation at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. ("Mack the Knife" was, of course, famously recorded in the Marc Blitzstein translation by the likes of Bobby Darin, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald.)
Faithfull first performed Coward's "20th Century Blues" for an American television show recorded at London's Marquee Club in 1974.