♫ My Way ♫ … Annnnnnnd … (Redux)

Tonight I am in an introspective mood.  Angst-ridden, vexed, and a bit despairing, I sought a song or two that could cheer me.  I strayed from my usual Stevie Wonder/Lionel Richie cure, and went further back … back to a simpler time, but was it really?  At any rate, back to the music of our parents or our early childhoods.  If you ask my faves from back in that day, I would immediately answer:  Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Louis Armstrong.  So tonight, let’s just go with the first one … a redux from May 2019 … two of my favourite Sinatra songs …

Ellen correctly noted that I have never played a Sinatra song here, and the reason is that I thought perhaps he wouldn’t have a mass appeal, though I grew up on Sinatra and like his voice and much of his music just fine.  At any rate, the suggestion was to play his iconic song, My Way, as a tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes.  I debated, for I was rather more inclined to play New York, New York.  And finally, I threw up my hands and said “What the heck … I shall offer them both”.  Since the lyrics are on-screen with the first video, I present only the lyrics to accompany the second.

The lyrics to My Way, released by Sinatra in 1969, were written by Paul Anka and set to the music of the French song Comme d’habitude co-composed and co-written (with Jacques Revaux), and performed in 1967 by Claude François. Anka’s English lyrics are unrelated to the original French song. The song was a success for a variety of performers including Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and Sid Vicious. Sinatra’s version spent 75 weeks in the UK Top 40, a record which still stands.

Paul Anka heard the original 1967 French pop song, Comme d’habitude (translation: As Usual) performed by Claude François, while on holiday in the south of France. He flew to Paris to negotiate the rights to the song. In a 2007 interview, he said, “I thought it was a shitty record, but there was something in it.” He acquired adaptation, recording, and publishing rights for the mere sum of one dollar, subject to the provision that the melody’s composers would retain their original share of royalty rights with respect to whatever versions Anka or his designates created or produced. Some time later, Anka had a dinner in Florida with Frank Sinatra and “a couple of Mob guys” during which Sinatra said “I’m quitting the business. I’m sick of it; I’m getting the hell out.”

Anka went back to New York and re-wrote the song for Sinatra …

“At one o’clock in the morning, I sat down at an old IBM electric typewriter and said, ‘If Frank were writing this, what would he say?’ And I started, metaphorically, ‘And now the end is near.’ I read a lot of periodicals, and I noticed everything was ‘my this’ and ‘my that’. We were in the ‘me generation’ and Frank became the guy for me to use to say that. I used words I would never use: ‘I ate it up and spit it out.’ But that’s the way he talked. I used to be around steam rooms with the Rat Pack guys – they liked to talk like Mob guys, even though they would have been scared of their own shadows.”

Anka finished the song at 5:00 in the morning, called Sinatra who was performing in Vegas, and the rest is history.

Frank Sinatra died on May 14, 1998, at the age of 82, after a heart attack.  The next night, the lights on the Empire State Building in New York City were turned blue, the lights at the Las Vegas Strip were dimmed in his honor, and the casinos stopped spinning for one minute.  Wow … now that’s a tribute!

New York, New York
Frank Sinatra

Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leavin’ today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New York

I wanna to wake up, in a city that doesn’t sleep
And find I’m king of the hill
Top of the heap

These little town blues
Are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you, New York, New York

New York, New York
I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps
And find I’m a number one, top of the list
King of the hill, a number one

These little town blues, are melting away
I’m gonna make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there
I’m gonna make it anywhere
It’s up to you, New York
New York
New York

Songwriters: Fred Ebb / John Kander
New York, New York lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

18 thoughts on “♫ My Way ♫ … Annnnnnnd … (Redux)

  1. Jill, two musical surprises to me have been when my daughter was in her teens, she and other younger audiences liked Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash. Cash had a following after a late life Grammy winning anthology of songs he did with a heavy metal producer, of all people, when his label dropped him. Sinatra had a larger than life reputation of being cool. Another performer who continues to fare well is Tony Bennett with his many duets. Keith

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      • Jill, there were a lot of ticked off people when the record company dropped Johnny Cash. Since he started out as a rock and roll singer touring with Elvis and others, Cash knew and was influenced by many. This guy approached him who had produced heavy metal and said he would work with him. You may remember Shania Twain’s producer and eventual husband came from rock and roll. Tony Bennett has done these fabulous duet compilations with male and female stars of today – kd lang, Lady Gaga, even the late Amy Winehouse. They say he is the nicest of people and a terrific collaborator. We saw him in concert with kd lang. Keith

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        • I was curious as to why Columbia dropped Cash, so I Googled … apparently his ‘style’ simply wasn’t much in demand anymore. Odd that. I don’t think I ever knew that about Shania Twain’s husband/producer. You frequently broaden my horizons! Thank you! Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga … now THERE’S an unlikely combination!

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  2. Loved learning a snippet of something I didn’t know I needed to know – still don’t think I need to know but it’s nice to know it…. 🙂 I don’t think I would have liked the guy but I sure liked his music!

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  3. Dean Martin, yes. Sammy Davis Jr., yes. Frank Sinatra, never! He just didn’t do anything for me. And Paul Anka, despite him being Canadian, was a total no. No reasons why. Just the way it was for me.

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    • That’s the thing about music, at least for me, is that I often have no idea why I like or dislike a song … I just do. I don’t overthink it … music is about feeling, at least for me.


  4. Pingback: ♫ My Way ♫ … Annnnnnnd … (Redux) – Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  5. Don’t forget that Sid Vicious did a cover of “My Way” … fucking rocked …

    & Liza Minelli recorded “The Theme New York, New York” before Sinatra did, several years before he did. The thing with Sinatra’s recording is that it’s the one he chose with which to come out of retirement & it was a big hit, as was his come-back tour that year. Thus, it became HIS song & very few people remember the original Liza Minelli recording.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never heard of Sid Vicious, so I had to ask my daughter, the music expert, who the heck he was! I did know that Liza Minelli had done “New York, New York”, but didn’t realize she did it before Sinatra.


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