Monday, January 23, 2017

Moti Giladi: ‘My Way’ in Yiddish (2007)

Moti Giladi sings “My Way” in Yiddish (Mayn veg) at the Festival of Jewish Culture in Warsaw: “Singer’s Warsaw” in Warsaw, Poland, in 2007. The festival, which has been taking place since 2004, is named after the prominent Yiddish writer, Isaac Bashevis Singer [1902–1991]who was born in Poland at the turn of the 20th century. Singer was named the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978.

The song, written by Paul Anka [born in 1941 in Ottawa, Canada], is based on a 1967 French pop song, Comme d’habitude (As Usual) performed by Claude François. The English version is nothing like the French one, though. It speaks more about a man who has lived a full life and has done so in a large way, without seeing a need for apology. It is a matter of allowing the record speak, which becomes self-explanatory. As for critics, more often than not they are unhappy people who are filled with resentment and rage at the many accomplishments of the successful.

Anka rewrote new English lyrics to the French song and did so specifically for American entertainer, Frank Sinatra, which was released by Reprise Records in 1969. It became Sinatra’s signature piece. Speaking of which, there is a wonderful 1994 (July 16th in Los Angeles) version here by the Three Tenors (opera) with Sinatra himself in the audience.

Since then, the song has been done by many artists, including here by Moti Giladi, one of Israel’s best-known performers. He is fluent in four languages, including Yiddish and English. His parents were born in Poland and emigrated, in 1938, to British Mandatory Palestine, where Giladi was born in 1946 in a small village. Among the other artists who covered the song the version by Elvis Presley stands out for a certain feeling of pathos, though I admittedly like the sound of the song in Yiddish.

My Way
by Paul Anka,
Claude François,
Jacques Revaux
& Gilles Thibault

So now the end is near 
And so I face the final curtain
My friend I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case of which I'm certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more much more than this
I did it my way.

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exception
I planned each chartered course
Each careful step alone the by way
And more much more than this
I did it my way.

Yes there were times I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt 
I ate it up and spit it out
I face it all and I stood tall
And did it my way.

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill my share of loosing
And the now as tears subside
I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that and my I say
Not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no not me
I did it my way.

For what is a man what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way.