My Way



Before you click on the videos at the end, take a few minutes to read the history and background information below.

Paul Anka in concert this spring related a bit of this story; he said Sinatra always called him "Kid".  Anka turned 80 in July and gave a wonderful concert.

While singer-songwriter legend Paul Anka has left a long trail of hits over his 60-year career, he admits that early on, he was terrified to pen a tune for Frank Sinatra. "He'd always tease me, Hey kid, when are you going to write me a song?" Anka remembers. "But I couldn't. I was scared to death. I was writing all this teen stuff."

Of course, there are few music lovers today who aren't familiar with the poignant ballad Paul Anka eventually crafted for Sinatra, "My Way."  Some dub it the most powerful of Anka's many songs, which also include classics like "Puppy Love," "Put Your Head on My Shoulder," and even Johnny Carson's theme song for "The Tonight Show."

Anka didn't think twice 55 years ago when Sinatra called him out of the blue and declared, "Kid, we're going to dinner." When Sinatra says "We
're going to dinner, you drop everything and you go to dinner," recalls Paul, who as a budding Vegas headliner in the 1960's had a friendly tie with the Rat Pack.

During the meal, Sinatra dropped a stunning surprise: He was about to quit showbiz!  He said, "I've had it. I'm fed up.  But I might do one more album," Anka remembers.  "He said, 'and you never wrote me that song'."

Anka felt the pressure.  Still reeling over the news at 1 AM in his apartment, he found himself toying with lyrics to a melody he had heard in France.  "I thought, What would Frank do with this melody, if he were a writer?" Anka says. "And all of a sudden, it just came to me:  "And now the end is near, and so I face the final curtain..."

He finished the song at 5 AM and called Sinatra on the spot, promising him a perfect song for his final album. "I knew I had something I wouldnt be afraid to give him," Anka says. The next day, he recorded a demo of the song and flew to Las Vegas, where Sinatra lived. "I played him the song and he looked at me and said, "'I'm doing it.'"

Two months later, Sinatra called Anka, this time, with even better news. "He says, 'Kid, listen to this,' and puts the phone up to the speaker," Anka remembers. "I heard My Way playing for the first time, the way it was meant to, and I started to cry."

Paul Anka didn't know what a legacy he had created when, at the request of Ol' Blue Eyes, he wrote this song for Frank's (presumed) retirement.  Frank Sinatra had a mega smash hit with it, followed by the Three Tenors, Pavarotti, and numerous other big stars who have covered the song over the years.

Best yet - it's the song we all want to relate to.  To think Paul Anna wrote it in four hours after having what must have been a "very inspirational" dinner with Frank.  I remember going for Karaoke with Chinese colleagues in Beijing 20 years ago. Most in attendance spoke limited English except one.  He said nothing all evening until the song "MY WAY" popped up.  He got up and sang it with perfect English and with all of the Sinatra inflections.  I was stunned.  When he finished, he went back to his seat in the corner of our private room, again saying nothing for the rest of the night.

Thank you to the Kid!
Thank you to the Chairman Of The Board



In this video, 10 superb voices, an amazing orchestra, plus piano, saxophone, electric guitar, and extra choral support go well beyond doing justice to Anka's composition.  The singers are Dutch, and you will notice that the majority of the orchestra are women. The performance is fantastic and extraordinarily beautiful.  

Take five from those pesky chores, click below, and enjoy this beautiful rendition.