Did karaoke versions of Sinatra's My Way provoke killings in the Philippines? | Music | guardian.co.uk
At least half a dozen have reportedly been killed after renditions of the 1967 song, forcing bars to take it off their song lists
Over the past decade, the Philippines has been stung by a series of killings all reportedly provoked by karaoke versions of Frank Sinatra's My Way. At least half a dozen people have been murdered after singing the tune at karaoke, according to the New York Times.
Local media call them "My Way killings", and they are occurring in some of the Philippines' thousands of karaoke-filled bars, cafés and restaurants. Someone gets up, clears his or her throat, and chooses My Way from a list of songs. The lyrics appear on a screen, the music begins to play - and the trouble begins.
"The trouble with My Way is that everyone knows it and everyone has an opinion," Rodolfo Gregorio, an amateur singer from General Santos, told the newspaper. Some performers get into fights with their critics. Some are rude, some jump forward in line, and some simply sing out of tune. "I used to like My Way but after all the trouble, I stopped singing it," Gregorio said. "You can get killed."
Manila resident Alisa Escanlar recalled an incident where her uncle, a police officer, was listening to a friend sing My Way, apparently the most remade song in history, at a local bar. When someone at another table began to laugh, Escanlar's uncle drew his revolver. The people fled, she explained - but Escanlar and her relatives have now banned the Sinatra song from their karaoke parties.
Stories like these have helped My Way to gain a sinister, even malevolent reputation. While some say the violence is simply a matter of statistics - the song is one of the favourites in a country prone to violence - others blame its boastful style. Paul Anka wrote the English lyrics with Sinatra in mind, and they reflect Old Blue Eyes' preeminence. A man, his song explains, must "say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels".
Unfortunately, several people have "taken the blows" of "doing it my way". Not that My Way has pride of place. Karaoke-related violence has spanned the globe, from an attack in Seattle after a man sang Coldplay's Yellow, to a Thai man who killed eight of his harmonising neighbours after their performance of John Denver's Take Me Home Country Roads. Perhaps the real solution is singing lessons.
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