Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sinatra song is still slayin' 'em

Guambat's burrow faces the Philippines, across the Philippine Sea. From personal experience, Guambat has learned that, in these parts of the Pacific, they take their karaoke seriously. Consequently, Guambat has learned to keep his mouth shut whenever a karaoke microphone is around.

Still, the following NYT story came as a bit of a shock, but only a bit.

Sinatra Song Often Strikes Deadly Chord
The authorities do not know exactly how many people have been killed warbling “My Way” in karaoke bars over the years in the Philippines, or how many fatal fights it has fueled. But the news media have recorded at least half a dozen victims in the past decade and includes them in a subcategory of crime dubbed the “My Way Killings.”

The lyrics, written by Paul Anka for Mr. Sinatra as an unapologetic summing up of his career, are about a tough guy who “when there was doubt,” simply “ate it up and spit it out.” Butch Albarracin, the owner of Center for Pop, a Manila-based singing school that has propelled the careers of many famous singers, was partial to what he called the “existential explanation.”

“ ‘I did it my way’ — it’s so arrogant,” Mr. Albarracin said. “The lyrics evoke feelings of pride and arrogance in the singer, as if you’re somebody when you’re really nobody. It covers up your failures. That’s why it leads to fights.”

Karaoke-related killings are not limited to the Philippines. In the past two years alone, a Malaysian man was fatally stabbed for hogging the microphone at a bar and a Thai man killed eight of his neighbors in a rage after they sang John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Karaoke-related assaults have also occurred in the United States, including at a Seattle bar where a woman punched a man for singing Coldplay’s “Yellow” after criticizing his version.

It's a most entertaining story and you should read the whole thing.

And whenever next Guambat hears a crooning karaoke singer belting away like Ole Blue Eyes, Guambat will remain quietly content to let him do it his way.

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