So when Paul Anka wrote the lyrics for “My Way” he made it a song about defiance… Which is very different from what the original song was about.

Blazer

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Well, recently there was this thread about well known songs with rewritten lyrics in a different language. Which inspired me to look up on the original version of “My way”.

So here we have it, the OG version of that song, as sung by the guy who wrote it.

Well, as you might have guessed by the title of my thread, this is NOT a song about defiance, heck the soulfully sung vocals aren't displaying pride either.

So what IS that song saying, what statement is it making? For that, we have to look inside Claude Francois' personal life.
France_Gall.png

This is singer France Gall, with who Francois had a well documented relationship. The song is about her, but it's not a serenade, nor is it what we now know as a “Diss-track”.

So what is Claude Francois singing about, what statement is he making with those heartfelt vocals of his, what did his famous girlfriend inspired him to write about?

Here's the song again, but this time with a translation of the lyrics.


So there you have it, the original version of “My way” was a song about being bored, frustrated with every single day going the same as the previous one, Francois belting out the desperation of wanting change.

I don't know if Anka did any research on the original lyrics, but if he did, he would have found the original subject, too dark for his taste. It probably wouldn't have become the standard it became with a more accurate translation of the lyrics.
 

Toto'sDad

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Well, recently there was this thread about well known songs with rewritten lyrics in a different language. Which inspired me to look up on the original version of “My way”.

So here we have it, the OG version of that song, as sung by the guy who wrote it.

Well, as you might have guessed by the title of my thread, this is NOT a song about defiance, heck the soulfully sung vocals aren't displaying pride either.

So what IS that song saying, what statement is it making? For that, we have to look inside Claude Francois' personal life.
France_Gall.png

This is singer France Gall, with who Francois had a well documented relationship. The song is about her, but it's not a serenade, nor is it what we now know as a “Diss-track”.

So what is Claude Francois singing about, what statement is he making with those heartfelt vocals of his, what did his famous girlfriend inspired him to write about?

Here's the song again, but this time with a translation of the lyrics.


So there you have it, the original version of “My way” was a song about being bored, frustrated with every single day going the same as the previous one, Francois belting out the desperation of wanting change.

I don't know if Anka did any research on the original lyrics, but if he did, he would have found the original subject, too dark for his taste. It probably wouldn't have become the standard it became with a more accurate translation of the lyrics.

If you had read what Anka himself wrote about the song, he bought it, and sat on it for quite some time, maybe a year or two. Then because Sinatra told him he was going to quit the entertainment industry, Anka put together words from Sinatra's life to make it his swan song.

Elvis along with a myriad of other entertainers recorded it, Sinatra's version stayed active on the charts for years. It was a tribute to Sinatra, it will always belong to Sinatra, it merely incubated in France like baby rabbit in a warming cage.
 

JeffroJones

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So what is Claude Francois singing about, what statement is he making with those heartfelt vocals of his, what did his famous girlfriend inspired him to write about?
Wow, Claude is knocking the socks offa this thing!
Yeah, its a little dark, but beautiful too, IMHO.
His feeling and commitment was so heartfelt, I couldn't help thinking, they can save this relationship!
I was on his side all the way :lol:

BUT... so interesting to learn the history of a song.
Lyrically there's an (obvious) similarity to Brenda Lee's "As Usual" too.

:::
 

That Cal Webway

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Paul Anka wrote the band intro music to the Johnny Carson Show:
Winner.

But he ain't havin' my baby!!
.
 

Blazer

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Francois's song was also the inspiration for David Bowie's "Life on Mars," recorded in 1971, released in 1973:


“Life on Mars” is hands down my favorite Bowie song. I can't think of all the superlatives I could use to describe how great that song is.

The story, from what I understand, was that both Bowie and Anka were commissioned to write an English lyric version of the song. Bowie's was called “Even a fool learns to love”
p01613ws.jpg

If the original was dark, Bowie's version was even darker, it had none of the glory that Anka's lyrics had. Bowie never formally recorded it, there's only a ““Demo” of him singing it over Claude Francois' original.

We all know what happened next, Anka got the deal and Bowie had to push on a little longer before finding success in his own right.

“Life on Mars” only has the melody of the verses of the original song in common, for the choruses Bowie went to a very different place indeed. Making it a song which I cannot imagine Sinatra singing it.
 

Kandinskyesque

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It’s a paean to arrogance, and self-importance, IMO.
I knew the story behind the Anka version and have always thought the same about it.

Maybe that's because anytime I've played at a function, and somebody has asked/demanded if they can come up and sing it with the band, they tend to have the air of a golf club bully about them.

I wonder if Anka's thinking/formula behind his lyrics was,
French song + hit single = an English version of "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" for a man to sing.
 




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