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Music / My Way

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"The record shows I took the blows / And did it my way."

My Way is the forty-ninth studio album by Frank Sinatra, released in 1969 through Reprise Records. The record was notable because, for the first time ever, Sinatra covered Rock & Roll songs, a genre he had previously dismissed in a 1957 Los Angeles Mirror News article with the words:

"My only deep sorrow is the unrelenting insistence of recording and motion picture companies upon purveying the most brutal, ugly, degenerate, vicious form of expression it has been my displeasure to hear— Naturally I refer to the bulk of rock ’n’ roll. It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people. It smells phony and false. It is sung, played and written for the most part by cretinous goons and by means of its almost imbecilic reiterations and sly, lewd—in plain fact, dirty—lyrics, and as I said before, it manages to be the martial music of every side-burned delinquent on the face of the earth … this rancid-smelling aphrodisiac I deplore. But, in spite of it, the contribution of American music to the world could be said to have one of the healthiest effects of all our contributions."

By 1960, Sinatra seemed to have eased up enough about rock to sing a duet with Elvis Presley, and nine years later, he ultimately had this album to show for it. It features covers of "Yesterday" by The Beatles and "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon & Garfunkel. (He also covered "Something" from Abbey Road on a single, despite mistakenly attributing it to John Lennon and Paul McCartney instead of George Harrison during concerts.) Other notable covers on the album included Ray Charles' "Hallelujah, I Love Her So", Jacques Brel's "Ne Me Quitte Pas" (covered as "If You Go Away") and, of course, the Title Track, an English-language version of Claude François' "Comme d' Habitude", which subsequently went on to become Sinatra's Signature Song and was Covered Up in too many versions to listnote . It got to the point where even Sinatra himself began to dislike the song.


Side One
  1. "Watch What Happens" (2:17)
  2. "Didn't We" (2:55)
  3. "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" (2:47)
  4. "Yesterday" (3:56)
  5. "All My Tomorrows" (4:35)

Side Two

  1. "My Way" (4:35)
  2. "A Day in the Life of a Fool" (3:00)
  3. "For Once in My Life" (2:50)
  4. "If You Go Away" (3:30)
  5. "Mrs. Robinson" (2:55)

Tropes done my way...

  • Alliterative Title: "Watch What Happens"
  • Badass Boast: "My Way" is one entire badass boast from the start to finish, all the more impressive if you consider it to be from the viewpoint of someone at the end of his life, who may have had "times when he bit off more than he could chew", but still thinks that despite all he still came through.
  • Break Up Song: "Yesterday" and "If You Go Away" both feature a protagonist depressed over the fact that his partner has left him.
  • Cover Album: All tracks are songs associated with other performers: "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" (Ray Charles), "Yesterday" (The Beatles, from Help!), "A Day in the Life of a Fool" (originally by Luiz Bonfá and Antônio Maria as "Mañha de Carnaval" from Black Orpheus), "If You Leave Me" (originally by Jacques Brel as "Ne Me Quitte Pas"), "For Once in My Life" (Ron Miller and Orlando Murden, most famous in the 1968 version by Stevie Wonder), "Didn't We" (Jimmy Webb, previously recorded by Richard Harris), "Watch What Happens" (Norman Gimbel, Michel Legrand, and Jacques Demy), "Mrs. Robinson" (Simon & Garfunkel, from the album Bookends) and "My Way" (originally by Claude François as "Comme d' Habitude", but the English lyrics are by Paul Anka, who wrote them specifically with Sinatra in mind.).
    • And, funnily enough, "All My Tomorrows" was originally done by... Sinatra himself, in 1959 for the film A Hole in the Head.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: Thanks to the nature of Paul Anka's English lyrics for the song, "My Way" turns an Anti-Love Song about the ennui of a collapsing marriage into a story of someone learning to Face Death with Dignity.
  • Face on the Cover: Sinatra in the presence of a bunch of chairs.
  • Grief Song: "My Way" starts off as this, from the viewpoint of a man facing death after a full life. But as he looks back on his life he finds peace with himself, eventually concluding that, good or bad, he at least did it his own personal way.
  • "I Am Great!" Song: "My Way." Frank went on the record as disliking the song, but it fit his persona so perfectly that he was obliged to top off every concert with it.
  • One-Woman Song: "Mrs. Robinson"
  • Pep-Talk Song: "My Way"
    For what is a man, what has he got?
    If not himself, then he has naught
    To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
    The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: Nowadays "My Way" is mostly associated with karaoke bars, as it is the most popular choice for people to sing. In the Philippines, "My Way" has been so treasured that people have been killed for singing it incorrectly at karaoke bars. We're NOT making this up.
  • The Power of Love: "Hallelujah, I Love Her So".
  • Questioning Title?: "Didn't We", although the title itself technically lacks a question mark.
  • Serious Business: The title track became infamous for a spate of killings in bars which arise from disputes concerning the song in question.
  • Title Track: "My Way".
    I lived a life that's full
    I travelled each and every highway
    And more, much more than this
    I did it my way.