As President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania glided across the dance floor to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” at the post-inauguration Liberty Ball, they probably thought the tune was fitting for the politically-incorrect candidate that rocked the nation.
But by selecting Sinatra’s classic as the song for the first presidential dance, Trump started the administration off on the wrong note and proved to be the very reason for why Ol’ Blue Eyes grew to despise his own song.
“My Way” was written for Sinatra by friend and songwriter Paul Anka. It debuted in 1969 and immediately began topping the charts in Canada, the UK, and the United States. But after singing the lyrics for barely a year, Sinatra said it quickly became his most hated song.
In a conversation with songwriter Ervin Drake in 1970, he confessed that he “detested” singing “My Way” and thought audiences would view it as “a self-aggrandizing tribute.”
Sinatra’s family has said on numerous occasions that the singer hated boastfulness, and saw the song as the antithesis of the pet peeve he so desperately despised.
In an interview with BBC in 2000, Sinatra’s daughter Tina said because of the song’s immense popularity, it began to feel like a curse.
“He always thought that song was self-serving and self-indulgent,” she said. “He didn’t like it. That song stuck and he couldn’t get it off his shoe.”
“My Way” may be braggadocious, but it is not a bad song. What makes the pompous and proud lyrics resonate with audiences depending on the situation. “My Way” is a song reserved for epic and earned conclusions, not new beginnings. Just look at the lyrics.
“I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried/ I’ve had my fill, my share of losing.”
Ironic lyrics for the president who said in his inaugural address just hours before the first dance that, “America will start winning again, winning like never before.” Americans should hope that Trump hasn’t given up on them that fast.
“And now, the end is near / And so I face the final curtain.”
President Trump has just started his show on the world stage, and curtain call isn’t for four more years, maybe even longer. He should slow down.
With lyrics about “living a life that’s full” it’s hardly a song the nation would want the commander in chief to embrace. With lyrics about reflecting life and remembering all the hard times, it’s no wonder that it is most often heard at funerals, retirements, and memorials.
In 2005, a survey by Co-Operative Funeralcare put this tune at the top of songs most requested at funerals in the U.K. The inauguration ball shouldn’t carry the somber, reflective tone of a funeral, but rather the good that comes from the winds of change.
The lyrics of “My Way” truly mean something when the good fight has been fought and the hard work is finished.
“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.”
Sure, President Trump has plenty of reason to celebrate. The political outsider took on 17 politically seasoned Republican challengers to secure the party’s nomination. Then, he defeated fundraising giant and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in perhaps the biggest presidential upset in United States history.
But it’s been more than two months since Election Day. The pomp and circumstance of Inauguration Day is supposed to reflect the optimism of the peaceful transition of power, not the complacency of a well-fought campaign.
As Trump said in his inaugural address, our work as Americans has just begun.
“We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country,” Trump said. “And to restore its promise for all of our people.”
With immense challenges such as domestic terrorism, crippling national debt, and border security on his agenda, Trump should save “My Way” for the end of his hopefully successful career.