My Way

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This article is about the song popularized by Frank Sinatra. For the French song on which the melody of "My Way" is based, see Comme d'habitude. For the Fetty Wap song, see My Way (Fetty Wap song). For the Limp Bizkit song, see My Way (Limp Bizkit song). For other uses, see My Way (disambiguation).
"My Way"
Song by Frank Sinatra from the album My Way
Released 1969
Recorded December 30, 1968, Los Angeles
Genre Traditional pop
Length 4:35
Label Reprise
Writer Paul Anka
Composer Claude François, Jacques Revaux
Producer Sonny Burke
My Way track listing
"All My Tomorrows"
"My Way"
"A Day in the Life of a Fool"

"My Way" is a song popularized by Frank Sinatra. Its lyrics were written by Paul Anka and set to music based on the French song "Comme d'habitude" co-composed, co-written and performed in 1967 by Claude François. Anka's English lyrics are unrelated to the original French song.


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Italy (FIMI)[1] Gold 25,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone


Paul Anka heard the original 1967 French pop song, Comme d'habitude (As Usual) performed by Claude François, while on holiday in the south of France. He flew to Paris to negotiate the rights to the song.[2] In a 2007 interview, he said, "I thought it was a bad record, but there was something in it."[3] He acquired adaptation, recording, and publishing rights for the mere nominal or formal consideration of one dollar,[4] subject to the provision that the melody's composers would retain their original share of royalty rights with respect to whatever versions Anka or his designates created or produced.[5] Some time later, Anka had a dinner in Florida with Frank Sinatra and "a couple of Mob guys" during which Sinatra said "I'm quitting the business. I'm sick of it; I'm getting the hell out."[3]

Back in New York, Anka re-wrote the original French song for Sinatra, subtly altering the melodic structure and changing the lyrics:

"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?' And I started, metaphorically, 'And now the end is near.' I read a lot of periodicals, and I noticed everything was 'my this' and 'my that'. We were in the 'me generation' and Frank became the guy for me to use to say that. I used words I would never use: 'I ate it up and spit it out.' But that's the way he talked. I used to be around steam rooms with the Rat Pack guys – they liked to talk like Mob guys, even though they would have been scared of their own shadows."

Anka finished the song at 5 am. "I called Frank up in Nevada – he was at Caesar's Palace – and said, 'I've got something really special for you.'"[3] Anka claimed, "When my record company caught wind of it, they were very pissed that I didn't keep it for myself. I said, 'Hey, I can write it, but I'm not the guy to sing it.' It was for Frank, no one else."[3] Despite this, Anka would later record the song in 1969 (very shortly after Sinatra's recording was released). Anka recorded it four other times as well: in 1996 (as a duet with Gabriel Byrne, performed in the movie Mad Dog Time), in 1998 in Spanish as (a Mi Manera) (duet with Julio Iglesias), in 2007 (as a duet with Jon Bon Jovi) [6] and in 2013 (as duet with Garou).[7]

Frank Sinatra recorded his version of the song on December 30, 1968, and it was released in early 1969 on the album of the same name and as a single. It reached No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 2 on the Easy Listening chart in the US. In the UK, the single achieved a still unmatched record, becoming the recording with the most weeks inside the Top 40, spending 75 weeks from April 1969 to September 1971. It spent a further 49 weeks in the Top 75 but never bettered the No. 5 slot achieved upon its first chart run.[8]


Dorothy Squires version[edit]

In the midst of Sinatra's multiple runs on the UK Singles Chart, Welsh singer Dorothy Squires also released a rendition of "My Way" in Summer 1970. Her recording reached number 10 on the UK Singles Chart and re-entered the chart twice more during that year.

Elvis Presley version[edit]

"My Way"
Single by Elvis Presley
B-side "Pledging My Love"
Released October 3, 1977
Format 7" single
Recorded June 21, 1977
Label RCA
Elvis Presley singles chronology
"Way Down"
"My Way"
"Unchained Melody"

Elvis Presley began performing the song in concert during the mid-1970s, in spite of suggestions by Paul Anka, who told him it was not a song that would suit him. Nevertheless, on January 12 and 14, 1973 Presley sang the song during his satellite show Aloha from Hawaii, beamed live and on deferred basis (for European audiences, who also saw it in prime time), to 43 countries via Intelsat.

On October 3, 1977, several weeks after Presley's death, his live recording of "My Way" (recorded for the Elvis In Concert CBS-TV special on June 21, 1977) was released as a single. In the U.S.A., it reached number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart in late-1977/early-1978 (higher than Frank Sinatra's peak position), number 6 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and went Gold for its successful sales of over half a million copies. The following year the single reached number 2 on the Billboard Country singles chart but went all the way to number 1 on the rival Cash Box Country Singles chart. In the UK, it reached number 9 on the UK Singles Chart.


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[9] Platinum 150,000^
United States (RIAA)[10] Gold 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Sid Vicious version[edit]

"My Way"
Single by Sid Vicious
from the album The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle
Released 1978
Recorded January–August 1978
Genre Punk rock
Length 4:06
Label Virgin Records
Writer(s) Paul Anka, Sid Vicious (A few lines)
Producer(s) Sex Pistols

Sex Pistols' bassist Sid Vicious did a punk rock version of the song. This version, in which a large body of the words were changed and the arrangement was sped up, charted at No. 7 in the UK in 1978. The orchestral backing was arranged by Simon Jeffes.

Interviewed in 2007, Paul Anka said he had been "somewhat destabilized by the Sex Pistols' version. It was kind of curious, but I felt he (Sid Vicious) was sincere about it."[3]

Vicious did not know all the lyrics to the song when it was recorded, so he improvised several lyrics, including use of the swear words cunt and fuck.[11] Vicious' reference to a "prat who wears hats" was an in-joke directed towards Vicious' friend and Sex Pistols band-mate John Lydon, who was fond of wearing different kinds of hats he would pick up at rummage sales.

An edited version of Vicious cover is played during the closing credits of the films Goodfellas and Juan of the Dead. A snippet of the song is also heard at the end of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Lovers Walk", as part of a running joke about vampire Spike's enjoyment of the Sex Pistols, as well as a reference to a snippet of the Frank Sinatra version that played at the beginning. It is also heard in the television commercial for the 2015 Acura TLX.

In her album The End, released in conjunction with the film Nana 2, singer and actress Mika Nakashima performs a cover of Sid Vicious' version of the song with what sounds like an audience singing background vocals.

In the film The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle the original footage for the track shows Sid Vicious at the end taking out a hand gun and opening fire on the audience, hitting two of the audience members. Sid then sneers, throws the gun away, and flicks the Vs at the audience and ascends the staircase he walked down to the stage from. For the music video version, director Julien Temple removed the original footage featuring actors playing the audience and the final graphic violence and replaced a few of the audience cutaways with stock footage of a theatre audience from the 1950s (he also drowned out Sid's use of the F-word in the third verse with audience applause). Although the censored version was still controversial, it merely showed Sid wildly shooting a gun towards the crowd. All of the footage of the bullet impacts and corpses were removed. The music video was recreated for director Alex Cox's film Sid and Nancy, with the final person Sid (Gary Oldman) shooting girlfriend Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb), eerily foreshadowing her alleged murder at Sid's hands. However, in the film, she gets up and the two embrace as the stage lights are turned off.

Chris Mann version[edit]

In 2012 Anka revised the lyrics of the song for Chris Mann's debut album Roads. In Mann's version the song is presented from the perspective of a young man looking to the future instead of an older man reflecting on his life.

Other versions[edit]

"My Way" is thought to be one of the most covered songs ever written. (However, "Yesterday" by The Beatles is considered to take that credit.) Here is a listing of some of those covers.

Aretha Franklin recorded the song for her 1970 album Spirit in the Dark. However, it was not released until the 2007 compilation Rare & Unreleased Recordings from the Golden Reign of the Queen of Soul.

French pop star Jocelyne recorded it in English prior to her untimely death in 1972.

Nina Simone had success with her re-arranged version of the song, released on 1971's Here Comes the Sun, which was more upbeat and melodic, and included a syncopated rhythm highlighted by the addition of conga drums. It became a staple of her live concerts.

Jason Kouchak Anglo-French singer sang a cover version in French for his 2010 album Comme d'Habitude.

In 1970 British singer Samantha Jones won the music festival held in Belgian Knokke-Heist with a version of "My Way", which subsequently reached #4 on the Dutch charts.

Tom Jones recorded a version of "My Way" in 1971, when it was released as the B-side to his big hit "She's a Lady" (which Anka had also written).

Spanish singer Bertín Osborne used the Spanish-language title (A Mi Manera) as the name of his 2012 album, though on the disc he performed the song in English. The album reached No. 10 in Spain.

Brook Benton hit the pop, R&B, and easy listening charts with a recording of the song in 1970.

Andy Williams sang this song in his show in 1969.

Shirley Bassey recorded the song for her 1970 album Something. She also performed it live on numerous occasions notably the 1976 Royal Variety Performance. In the weeks following Sinatra's death in 1998, Bassey sang it as a tribute to him on her "Diamond" concert tour.

John Cleese covered the song in 1997's George of the Jungle, as he voiced the talking gorilla named Ape.

The Romanian rock singer Dida Drăgan recorded this song in 1977, with Romanian lyrics, accompanied by National Radio-Television Pop Orchestra, conducted by Sile Dinicu.

Gonzo the Great performed the song in a 1980 episode of The Muppet Show. He sings this song before leaving the show to pursue a movie career in Bombay.

Nina Hagen released a version of "My Way" as a single in 1980. It contained "My Way" (4:25), "Alptraum" (4:06) and "No Way" (1:05). Her version featured partly-German lyrics and was musically based on Sid Vicious' version of the song.

Greta Keller always included the song during her last decade of performing and did a duet with Rod McKuen singing the song at Lincoln Center in New York City and in Vienna.

Gipsy Kings, a group that popularized the Rumba Flamenca, covered the song using the traditional gipsy sound. Their version is titled "A Mi Manera (Comme d'habitude)", though most fail to recognize that this is a cover due to the lyrics being sung in Spanish

Luciano Pavarotti sang with Frank Sinatra in the "90th Birthday Limited Collector's Edition" of the album Duets, which is an unreleased version – 1993

U2 regularly performed a snippet of "My Way" at the end of their song "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)" during their 1992–1993 Zoo TV Tour.

Patti LuPone performs this song as part of her one-woman show Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda.

Gary Chaw sings the song switching from tenor to falsetto.

One of Argentina's top rock performers, Andres Calamaro released "My Way" in an interesting reggae version in his Las otras caras de Alta Suciedad album.

Ray Quinn, the runner-up of the third series of The X Factor UK, covered "My Way" for his album Doing It My Way.

Bobby Solo does a recording of the song in Italian called "La Mia Strada". Another Italian version "La Mia Via" lyrics by Andrea Lo Vecchio was recorded by both Fred Bongusto in 1975, and Frank Michael in 1990. Popular Ukrainian rock band Okean Elzy performed the song (the only one of the set in English) during their symphony-accompanied renaissance tour.

A black metal version of the song has been performed by the French band Mütiilation on the album From the Entrails to the Dirt.

Robbie Williams sang "My Way" in his concert at the Royal Albert Hall on October 10, 2001. This version of the song was recorded and released in the DVD Live At The Albert.

The symphonic metal group Northern Kings covered this song in their latest album, Rethroned, released November 19, 2008.

The German Euro Disco artist Fancy covered the song on his 2008 album Forever Magic.

British satirical show Spitting Image, who frequently ended each episode with a musical number, rounded off a season with a puppet of Margaret Thatcher singing the song word-for-word.

The Pogues' Shane MacGowan recorded a punk cover of the song, reaching No. 29 on the UK singles chart. His version was used for a Nike commercial.

J-pop artist Chara covered the song on her 1996 album Montage.

In their live album 1,2,3 Soleils – Algerian Rai artists Rachid Taha, Khaled and Faudel perform "Comme d'Habitude" in the finale (1999)

Vlado Kreslin recorded his version for his CD Spominčice(1991)

Japanese pop singer Mika Nakashima covered the song on her 2006 album The End. The song, like the whole of The End album is credited as Nana starring Mika Nakashima.

Patti Austin covered the song on her 2011 album Sound Advice.

Jacky Cheung performed the song at the 30th Hong Kong Film Awards, on April 17, 2011.

Vicente Fernández Spanish version titled "A Mi Manera".

TMZ founder and People's Court legal analyst Harvey Levin covered the song with Anka in 2011.

Dutch singer and painter Herman Brood covered the song. It was part of his posthumous greatest hits album My Way (2001). The title song was released on single and became his first No. 1 single in the Dutch top 40.

University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band traditionally covers this song at every post-game show. They also sing it at non-performance events as a way of ending their meetings.

On September 13, 2011, Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. performed the song during the finals of the sixth season of the NBC reality television series America's Got Talent. The following evening he was crowned the winner, and was awarded the show's $1 million grand prize.[12] Later that year, a studio version of the song appeared on Murphy's debut album, That's Life.

R. Kelly covered the song on his Love Letter album tour in 2011.

The Japanese rockband Kishidan has covered the song in concerts, and will release a recorded version in December 2011.

The Barry Sisters sang "My Way" in Yiddish on their 1973 album Our Way. The lyrics for "Mein vayg" were translated by the Yiddish theater actor Herman Yablokoff.

Australian alternative rock band Faker covered the song on their 2005 EP The Familiar/Enough.

The Shrek 2 DVD features a special spoofing American Idol, "Far Far Away Idol". At the end the viewer picks one character, and almost all if picked lead Simon Cowell (as voiced by Rick Riso) to perform "My Way".

In the 2006 animated movie Happy Feet, Robin Williams sang a cover of the song in Spanish while voicing a Latino-sounding penguin.

The Romanian singer, showman and entertainer Horia Brenciu recorded this song in 2012, with original lyrics, accompanied by HB Orchestra Big Band, in a video produced by HB Media Entertainment.

The Italian singer Mina covered the song on the album-tribute to Frank Sinatra, L'allieva, in 2005. Jarkko Ahola sings My Way on the 2008 album Rethrone by the Symphonic Metal band Northern Kings

Italian singer Andrea Bocelli performed the song in Italian during his 2013 "Love in Portofino" concert.

Volkswagen used the song to introduce their new Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk7 during the Geneva Motor Show in 2013, showcasing how, like the singer and the song ... their car is "Often copied, never equalled"

British actor Christopher Lee covered the song on his 2007 album Revelation, also producing a music video for promotion.[13] In 2014, for his 92nd birthday, he released a heavy metal version.

Filipina caregiver Rose Fostanes performed the song "My Way" in her final performance on the singing-reality show The X Factor Israel.[14]

Soviet singer Muslim Magomayev often sang "My Way" live as well as in studio.

Mexican banda group La Arrolladora Banda El Limón covered "My Way" in English and Spanish (titled, "A Mi Manera") in their 2013 album, La Original Y Sus Boleros De Amor.

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.[15]

In culture[edit]

  • The Three Tenors performed the song on July 22, 1996 during their concert in East Rutherford, New Jersey, at New York Giants stadium. Frank Sinatra himself was in the audience in the first row seated alongside George H.W. Bush and his wife. This was Frank Sinatra's last ever televised appearance before his death in 1998. At the end of the song Sinatra stood up, waved and said: "Bravo!"
  • "My Way" was found to be the song most frequently played at British funeral services.[16]
  • Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder requested the song for his final military sendoff (Zapfenstreich (in German)) prior to the inauguration of Angela Merkel.
  • The chorus of Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" (subsequently covered by Paul Anka on Rock Swings) references the song in the line "My heart is like an open highway/Like Frankie said, I did it my way."
  • The pop duo Sparks released a song titled "When Do I Get to Sing 'My Way'" on their 1994 album Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins, mentioning Sinatra and Sid Vicious by name.
  • Rapper Jay-Z has made reference to the song several times over his career and on his album The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse, he samples the tune for his own song titled "I Did It My Way".
  • The identification of the song with Sinatra became so strong, and the song so iconic, that the Soviet government of Mikhail Gorbachev jokingly referred to its policy of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other Warsaw Pact countries as the Sinatra Doctrine.
  • David Bowie, then a little known musician, was originally contacted to write the words for the English version, and started to work on it, only to have the deal revoked by the producer later on before he could submit his material. He wrote "Life on Mars?", in retaliation.[citation needed]
  • The Sinatra version was used in the soundtrack of the movie The End (1978). The Burt Reynolds character begins a swim into the Pacific Ocean, at which point he realizes he wants to live.
  • The song was spoofed on Sesame Street as "Just Throw It My Way", Oscar the Grouch's anti-litter anthem. Oscar laments that he hates to see trash all over the place figuring that it's going to waste. Instead he urges Muppet boys and girls to throw it his way, right into his trash can.
  • In an episode of The Jeffersons, Harry Bentley shows up to the Willis' apartment drunk, and starts singing off-key and loudly, "I did it my way". He then comments, "You know, they don't write songs like that anymore." To which, Tom Willis replies, "They never did."
  • In 1984, outgoing Liberal Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau's Liberal Convention tribute video was a modified version of the song known as His Way.
  • "My Way" is a popular karaoke song around the world, to the point that it has been reported to cause numerous incidents of violence and homicides among drunkards in bars in the Philippines, referred in the media as the "My Way Killings".[17][18]
  • In the 2003 Filipino TV Series Basta't Kasama Kita, the two main protagonists Ambet and Princess, who are both NBI agents, solved a serial killing case with all the victims sang "My Way" before they got murdered.
  • Jarkko Ahola sings My Way on the 2008 album Rethrone by the Symphonic Metal band Northern Kings.
  • The song was referenced by Eric Forman in an episode of That '70s Show titled "The Relapse".
  • The song was played in the background on the radio in Mad Men ("The Strategy", S07E06). Peggy made reference that she kept hearing this song, and partway through the song Don asks Peggy to slow dance with him in her office. She leans on him, and he kisses the top of her head.
  • In 2014, the song was used in a Gatorade commercial to honor Derek Jeter known as "Made in New York", where Jeter walks through the Bronx neighborhood surrounding Yankee Stadium in order to thank his Yankee fans. According to Jeter, "My Way" is the song that best sums up his career, and was thus chosen for the commercial.[19]


  1. ^ "Italian single certifications – Frank Sinatra – My Way" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved June 25, 2013.  Select Online in the field Sezione. Enter Frank Sinatra in the field Filtra. The certification will load automatically
  2. ^ How Sinatra did it My Way – via a French pop star and a Canadian lounge act
  3. ^ a b c d e McCormick, Neil (November 8, 2007). "Daily Telegraph interview, 8 November 2007". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved May 19, 2010. 
  4. ^ Paul Anka, "With Paul Anka, 'Rock Swings', Part Two", interviewed on Fresh Air, WHYY, August 10, 2005
  5. ^ The rights holders including Jacques Revaux and Claude François' heirs sold it to Xavier Niel in 2009
  6. ^
  7. ^ Forever_Gentlemen
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Elvis Presley – My Way". Music Canada. 
  10. ^ "American single certifications – Elvis Presley – My Way". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  11. ^
  12. ^ Macht, Daniel. "Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. Wins "America's Got Talent"". Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  13. ^!
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ My Way tops funeral charts – An article in The Guardian
  17. ^ Utton, Dominic (March 28, 2009). "My Way: The story behind the song". Daily Express. London: Northern and Shell Media Publications. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 'Meanwhile in the Philippines My Way is so popular at karaoke bars that it has been declared responsible for a number of deaths after arguments over performances degenerated into violence – a social phenomenon referred to by the Philippine media as "My Way killings".' 
  18. ^ Onishi, Norimitsu (February 6, 2010). "Sinatra Song Often Strikes Deadly Chord". The New York Times. Retrieved February 9, 2009. '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.' 
  19. ^ McCarthy, Michael (September 18, 2014). "Ad of the Day: Gatorade's Epic Farewell to Derek Jeter Will Be Tough to Beat". Adweek (New York). Retrieved September 19, 2014. 'When Gatorade asked the 40-year-old (the brand's third-longest-serving endorser after Michael Jordan and Mia Hamm) which song best summed up his career, he picked "My Way".' 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Take This Job and Shove It"
by Johnny Paycheck
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single (Elvis Presley version)

January 21–28, 1978
Succeeded by
"What a Difference You've Made in My Life"
by Ronnie Milsap