"Comme d'habitude" ([kɔm da.bi.tyd], French for "As usual") is a French song composed in 1967 by Claude François and Jacques Revaux with lyrics by Claude François and Gilles Thibaut, originally recorded by Hervé Vilard.
Revaux, reportedly not satisfied with Vilard's version of the song, approached Claude François to re-record it. François accepted but asked that an underlying theme of a couple in a strained relationship be included, in reference to his recent breakup with fellow French singer France Gall. Revaux agreed and with some rewriting from Gilles Thibaut the song became "Comme d'habitude" in its best-known version in French, which was released by Claude François in 1968.
Paul Anka, after hearing the song while watching French television in Paris, bought the song's publication and adaptation rights but the original songwriters retained the music-composition half of their songwriter royalties. Anka wrote English lyrics specifically for Frank Sinatra, who then recorded a cross-Atlantic version of it in 1969 under the title "My Way". "My Way" has since been covered by many artists.
The lyrics of My Way are related to those of Comme d'habitude in terms of structure and metre, but the meaning is completely different. The French song is about routine in a relationship that is falling out of love, while the English language version is set at the end of a lifetime, approaching death, and looking back without regret - expressing feelings that are more related to Piaf's song Non, je ne regrette rien.
Many artists sang Comme d'Habitude in French after Claude François's success (and international success through My Way), notably:
- Michel Sardou, who had refused the first version of the song offered to him by Claude François and Jacques Revaux but sang it a bit slower and reorchestrated.
- Florent Pagny covered the song in 1989 and released as a single in France.
- Jason Kouchak covered and arranged a modern version in 2011.
- Rachid Taha, Khaled and Faudel, three French-Algerian artists sang it live in Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy. The live version produced and arranged by Steve Hillage, was included in joint Taha / Khaled / Faudel live album 1, 2, 3 Soleils was released by Barclay in 1999 reaching #4 in French Albums Chart and #14 in Belgium's French (Wallonia) Albums Chart. The cover of "Comme d'habitude" found on the album as performed by the trio proved very popular and was released in 1999 as a single in France and it reached #40 on both SNEP, the official French Singles Chart and on Belgium's French Wallonia Singles Chart.
- Nina Hagen covered the song in the late 1970s.
- Jozsef Gregor the renowned Hungarian bass-baritone/basso buffo recorded the song with Andras Ruszanov's Hungarian lyrics version in 1996. Two year later, he sang this version in one of the most popular TV show in Budapest, since then this version has been permanently on the playlists of numerous radio stations in Hungary.
- Singers of musical Belles belles belles covered the song in 2003.
- Peter Jöback covered the song in 2011 in Swedish "Precis som vanligt"
David Bowie has said that in 1968 – the year before Paul Anka acquired the French song – his manager, Kenneth Pitt, asked him to write English lyrics for "Comme d'habitude" but that his version, titled "Even a Fool Learns to Love", was rejected. The unfinished work would later inspire his 1971 song "Life on Mars?"
- Fresh Air (radio program produced by WHYY [Phila., Pa.] and syndicated by National Public Radio), "With Paul Anka, 'Rock Swings'" (interview with Paul Anka), part 1 (August 8, 2005) and part 2 (August 10, 2005)
- Translation into English of French Lyrics
- on YouTube
- David Bowie - Life on Mars? - (VH1 Storytellers) FULL (Video). see 3:10 minute mark: YouTube.
- Claude François – Comme d’habitude, Zicabloc, 2011 Jan 20 (in French)