The Many Crimes of Frank Sinatra's 'My Way'

The hit 1969 tune is among history's greatest monsters

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Frank Sinatra did not write "My Way," which tells the story of an aging man looking back proudly on his life, but the singer's 1969 cover remains one of his most iconic and beloved songs forty years later. It turns out, "My Way" is also one of history's greatest monsters, through no apparent fault of Sinatra's. The crimes of "My Way" are as numerous, it seems, as they are vicious. Here are the most severe:

  • 'My Way' Murders Filippino Karaoke Patrons  The New York Times's Norimitsu Onishi reports that so many Philippines Karaoke-goers have been killed while singing the song, it has its own law enforcement category: the "My Way Killings." Onishi writes, "The killings have produced urban legends about the song and left Filipinos groping for answers. Are the killings the natural byproduct of the country's culture of violence, drinking and machismo? Or is there something inherently sinister in the song? Whatever the reason, many karaoke bars have removed the song from their playbooks. And the country's many Sinatra lovers [...] are practicing self-censorship out of perceived self-preservation."
  • 'My Way' Makes Joe Lieberman Happy  Former Lieberman staffer Jim Kennedy probably thinks this is a good thing. "The Joe I know is not a bitter man, driven by pique over political slights. He can be a stubborn man, yes, prone to charting his own course (his favorite song is Frank Sinatra's 'My Way'). But to paraphrase an old political quote, stubbornness in the defense of principle is no vice." But a lot of Democrats probably don't think so.
The only way "My Way" has ever worked is if the person singing it is dumber than the song. [...] It's just that "My Way" pretends to speak up for self-possession and personal vision when, at base, it only calls forth the temper tantrums of 2-year-olds or perhaps the last words spoken to Eva Braun. Who wants to be remembered for blind rigidity anyway? Can't you imagine Oliver North defacing the Constitution with graffiti like "I faced it all/And I stood tall"?
  • 'My Way' Heralds Death  Boing Boing's David Pescovitz finds that it's the most-played song at funerals. Well, at least at a "large cemetery and crematorium in Adelaide, Australia."
  • 'My Way' Produced This Sid Vicious Cover  Note how he shoots the audience at the end of the video:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.