“Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew,
When I bit off more than I could chew…”
Fair enough—it’s Anka’s song after all…
At least the lyrics were written by Paul Anka, set to the music of the French song “Comme d’habitude” co-composed, co-written and performed in 1967 by Claude François. The song was of course made famous by Frank Sinatra, in his case sounding like a memoir set to music.
According to Anka, “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 claimed, “When my record company caught wind of it, they were very pissed that I didn’t keep it for myself. I said, ‘Hey, I can write it, but I’m not the guy to sing it.’ It was for Frank, no one else.”
Sinatra recorded his version of the song on December 30, 1968, and it was released in early 1969 on the album of the same name and as a single.
Since then, “My Way” has been inexorably linked to Frank Sinatra… until now, at least.
Before Anka’s customized performance for Donald Trump’s inauguration next week (and we could think of a few custom lyrics of our own to add in for such an occasion), let’s enjoy “My Way” one last time, the way it should be remembered…
***UPDATE: Paul Anka will NOT be performing. Turns out he’s, “got that thing…”***