Monday, 24 March 2008

Comme d'Habitude

Four years ago I discovered that My Way was a French song and posted a rather feeble note remarking unjustifiably that the French words didn't seem to fit the tune. This month was the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Claude Fran├žois, who composed the original version, and Marcel Berlins in the Guardian makes some much more pertinent observations.

In French, the singer tells how he tries to carry on as usual while his love is ending. When Paul Anka put English words to it, with Frank Sinatra in mind, he turned a "delicate French song about love, loss and regret into a crass hymn to selfishness, an excuse not to care for anyone else's feelings and a justification for bad and boorish behaviour. The rhythm of the music has changed too, from sentimental to aggressive, from I'm so sad to Screw you".

Yes, indeed. But Berlins reflects that while Fran├žois may have resented this, he would have been consoled to some extent by the large royalty cheques that flowed in (and are still going to his estate).

You can hear the what the somewhat androgynous Claude made of it here.


blandine said...

i am so glad we had this argument 8 years ago already!! i feel rather proud to have taught you something after the continuous learning i do with you..
gros bisous

Tony said...

This is the first time anyone has sent me gros bisous on my blog! I send them to you in return.