Frank Sinatra may have his hit "My Way" to thank for much of his success, but as the song reaches its 40th anniversary, Will Friedwald looks at the truth in the Wall Street Journal: Sinatra hated it. Even as audiences called for "My Way" in concert after concert, he bluntly moaned about it it. The problem, writes Friedwald, was that the anthem of self-celebration—"which led an entire generation to believe that Sinatra was a raging egomaniac"—just wasn't his style.
"It would have seemed like the tackiest thing imaginable to stand in the middle of Madison Square Garden and shout out to the world how great he was," he writes. Sinatra preferred the romantic ballads that secured his early reputation, leaving the egocentric numbers to sidekick Sammy Davis Jr. "It was the last song in the world for which Sinatra would have wanted to be remembered, even though he sang it—acted it, really—so vividly and convincingly."