Two Reprehensible Songs Considered Classics                

By Jirair Tutunjian

In 1968, while vacationing in France, Paul Anka heard a popular French song titled Comme d’habitude (“As Usual”). He bought the music rights and upon his return to the U.S. wrote “I did it My Way” using the French song’s tune. He wrote it specifically for Frank Sinatra. The latter recorded it in December 1968.

With 152 covers, it’s the sixth most covered song. In Britain it was in the top 40 for 75 weeks. No other song—before or since—has matched the record. It’s also the most frequently played song at funerals in Britain. It seems many British citizens see themselves as single-minded Ayn Rand heroes and God’s gift to individualism. One wonders what they plan to say to St. Peter.

The abominable lyrics repeat “I did it my way” at least six times as if the singer is demanding a medal for egotism, intransigence, and “I know best” arrogance. Sinatra did it “his way” when he abandoned his loving wife and very young children to wed the twice-married nymphomaniac Ava Gardner who had had affairs with scores of men.

“Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention.”

After admitting a sliver of regret, the singer quickly gathers his wits and boasts his mistakes were few. He must have been infallible—even when he decided to star in such stinkers as The Kissing Bandit, Dirty Dingus Magee, and Cast a Giant Shadow.

“I did what I had to do…”

Yes, Sinatra had to divorce his wife and kick long-time friends Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford from the Rat Pack. He also had to do what he had to do when he womanized, publicly threatened people, used obscene language, and employed goons to threaten people Sinatra didn’t like. He is rumored to have worked with the Mafia to send contraband arms to Israel in the late ‘40s.

I planned each charted course… The big turning point in Sinatra’s career were the late ‘40s and the early ‘50s. His movie career had hit the skids. It was Gardner who rescued his career when she persuaded studio heads to hire Sinatra for “From Here to Eternity.” The movie made Sinatra hot again.

Lyrics in defiance of God: “For what is a man, what has he got, if not himself, then he has naught…”

A sharp-eyed critic has labelled the song a primer for postmodernism…the irrational philosophy whose characteristics include barbarism, pessimism, and exhibitionism… Another critic said the song was the opposite of the Christian concept of reliance on God for salvation.

In old age Sinatra recognized the offensive lyrics. He especially hated the song’s self-assertiveness and pride. He didn’t want his name to be connected to the crass and boastful lyrics. But despite Sinatra’s change of heart, his paean to brain-dead arrogance, ignorance, and self-satisfaction continues to influence the attitudes of millions.

There is another offensive song which competes with “I did it My Way” in inanity, in anti-religion bias, and anti-God ruminations. It was released two years after I did it My Way.

It was John Lennon’s “Imagine” (1971).

It’s one of the 100 most performed songs of the 20th Century and has been ranked number 30 among 365 “Songs of the Century.” It earned Grammy Hall of Fame Award and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It has sold 21 million copies. It’s also the 16th most-covered song.

To start: the rude and sharp-tongued former Beatle preached against God and salvation when he sang Imagine there’s no Heaven. There might not be a Heaven, but the belief in divine retribution impels billions of people to behave.

Lennon preached selfishness and instant self-gratification when he sang Imagine all the people living for today.

No religion, too (ditto as above.)

The man who preached Imagine no possession had a massive country manor, luxurious apartments in sybaritic Beverly Hills, in London’s exclusive Mayfair district, and in New York (the elitist Dakota apartments.)

Lennon also had had a fleet of expensive cars and motorcycles.

When he died, the dime philosopher had a net worth of $200 million ($620 million today.)

While TV pundit Ben Shapiro is over the top when he criticizes “Imagine,” there is some truth to what he says when he describes the paean to the demise of religion as “evil…deeply immoral…a terrible song…crap…garbage…pretentious…it makes Justin Beaver sound like Beethoven.”

One could say the two songs are harmless ditties and that their bubble-gum philosophy is harmless posturing. The fact that the two songs are the most popular of Sinatra’s and Lennon’s songs, belie the fact that their “philosophy” has influenced countless people and continue to do so.

*****

 

2 comments
  1. WOW. What an insight !
    I will always remember you and your take on these songs whenever I read or hear Sinatra or Lennon.

  2. I’m not sure what may be deemed “derogatory expressions” or “personal attacks”, however, both Sinatra and Lennon worked for military intel all of their lives because they worked for the Tavistok industry known as “music” and the movie industry known as Hollywood. Hollywood especially was a Frankfort School creation before the Frankfort School was known by that name. All of the songs that are “popular” serve a command and control purpose to the clandestine services. And those who fund the clandestine services are the ultimate controllers, since there’d be no overarching command and control system if there were no overarching system of money. (Think The City and Geneva.)

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