Have You Done It Your Way?

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Frank Sinatra. Oh, old Frankie boy. How do I sum him up for any kids reading who perhaps haven’t heard of him? Well, he was most famous as a rampant alcoholic and womaniser, a man who thought the world of himself and also happened to be a good singer. It was in 1967 when the world was introduced to this song. Sort of. Frenchman Claude François released the song ‘Comme d’habitude’ in that year. Paul Anka discovered the song whilst visiting France and he rewrote the lyrics for none other than Frank Sinatra. And so his most famous hit, ‘My Way’, was born. You know, in the UK, this is the most frequently played song at funeral services. Seriously. I don’t know why, though. I want ‘Monster Mash’, but that’s not important…

The original was about a man living out the end of his marriage, a love killed by the boredom of everyday life. It was a cheery number. Very ‘French’. When Anka rewrote the lyrics for Sinatra, he changed the song to one about a man looking back fondly on a life lived by his own terms. The only thing that was the same was the tune. And it didn’t just bring Sinatra success. Elvis Presley and the Sex Pistols released covers. Oh, that last one is a good version. Much better than Sinatra’s crappy endeavour.

He was not a happy bunny. His daughter Tina said, “He always thought that song was self-serving and self-indulgent. He didn’t like it.” She’s 100% correct. It’s massively egotistical. ‘I’ve lived a life that’s full. I’ve travelled each and every highway. But more, much more than this, I did it my way.’ Nope. I’m not having that. He’s saying that his way, his drunken womanising ways, regardless of whether or not they were right or wrong, he stands by. That no matter what he did, he stands by it. But I hate people like that. The mistakes you make in life are meant to galvanise you. You’re meant to learn from them to become a better person. What Sinatra was really saying is, “I did what I wanted to, I answered to nobody. I was my own person and if I did something someone didn’t like, I didn’t care.” He was no saint.

Sure, he goes on to say he’s ‘had a few regrets’ but that sounds like lip-service to me. That’s what drunks always say. It’s a contradiction to what he says earlier on. “Screw the world! I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean that!” He admits regret to appease those who see through his facade. He goes on to sing, ‘I did what I had to.’ Which sounds a bit ominous to me. What does he define as a regret? The song is contradicting the hell out of itself.

‘To think I did all that… not in a shy way… I did it my way.’ Or, ‘I was loud and brash and boy, did I love it.’ I get why people like this song, it’s incredibly liberating, but coming from Sinatra, that freedom carries a tremendous weight of sadness upon its shoulders. It’s almost as if he’s trying to reaffirm his own faith in his own actions. Maybe for some they can shake this interpretation and adapt it to their own lives. But I can’t.

‘To say the things he truly feels,’ he goes on to sing. ‘A man should only say what he’s really feeling.’ Maybe, but considering all the other lyrics, this feels like the opposite. The words of a man who felt he could never be himself or say what he really wanted. When he says he regrets the song, I don’t believe that, either. For me, ‘My Way’ is one of the saddest songs ever written. I think if any of us feel as if we can relate to this song, that we have ‘done it our way’, then, for me, that’s not good.

I have not done it my way, readers. Because that way is always the wrong way.

Ciao :)(:


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Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other blog:

The Indelible Life of Me
New Post Every Saturday
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