Picture this: someone tailors a song specifically for you, it becomes an enormous hit, and then everyone wants to make the song about them. To me, that would mean these people want to be you. This is what happened to Frank Sinatra in regards to the song, My Way, and honestly, who wouldn’t want to be him?
While vacationing in France in l967, Canadian singer/songwriter Paul Anka heard the French song, Comme d’habitude and acquired the publishing rights to it. Interestingly, David Bowie was asked to pen an English version before My Way was written, but the Bowie version was rejected and that song would inspire his hit, Life on Mars?
But back on this side of the pond, Anka had become an honorary Rat Pack member and was hanging out with Frank and the boys. At one dinner, Sinatra told Anka he was thinking about getting out of the business, so when Anka got home he sat down and wrote My Way for Frank. “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?” He was finished the song at 5am.
Anka says this was the one song he was certain was a hit, and he’s penned some big songs for himself and other artists. The song was a hit and became a sort of anthem for Sinatra. However, his distaste for new pop and the focus of the song left a bit of a bad taste. His daughter, Tina, said, "He always thought that song was self-serving and self-indulgent. He didn't like it. That song stuck and he couldn't get it off his shoe."
That self-indulgence wouldn’t stop others from wanting it to be theirs though. Anka himself released it, Elvis Presley loved it, and everyone from Nina Simone to Tom Jones and even Sid Vicious recorded it. It is one of the most covered songs of all time.
Such epically historic songs are why I’m glad to be in this business and why I had to include it in my newest Las Vegas show, Frank … A Musical Journey. I hope you’ll get to hear it soon.