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.
by Paul Anka,
& Gilles Thibault