Bizarre Phenomenon: My Way Killings

A bizarre phenomenon dubbed My Way Killings prompted Filipinos to avoid singing Frank Sinatra’s My Way in public bars and videoke joints. Police recorded 15 incidents and dozen deaths related to the Sinatra classic since 2000.

American singer Frank Sinatra released the song My Way in 1969 as part of his My Way album. The song became Sinatra’s theme song of his career.

my way killings
Frank Sinatra (Billboard)

In 2014, a stabbing incident occurred in Legazpi City, in the province of Albay in the Philippines.  The incident which resulted to a death, was provoked after a couple of drinking buddies had an argument over who should have sung “My Way” on the videoke.

GMA News online reported that the suspect, 25-year-old Sammy Dacutanan Jr. was out drinking at the videoke bar with the victims—Ricamara Policardo, 44, and Gener Flores, 38—when he requested the Frank Sinatra classic. However, Policardo took the microphone and insisted singing the song. This resulted in an argument and stabbing afterwards.

In San Mateo City in 2007, security guard Robilito Ortega, 43 bawled at 29-year-old Romy Baligula for singing My Way out-of-tune at a vidoeke bar. Baligula ignored him and continued singing. Ortega pulled out a .38 caliber pistol and shot the singer in the chest.

In 2002, a riot ensued when a duo mockingly clapped after a student sang My Way off-key. The student felt insulted. He and his friends confronted the men. The duo left the vidoeke parlor to avoid further trouble. However, the student ambushed the men and shot them killing one and wounded the other.

Another incident involved another police officer, who brought out his gun when other patrons reacted negatively about his singing.

my way killings
(Tommy Schultz)

Authorities noted that My Way seems to drive many drunken men to inflict slight physical injuries to homicide. The My Way Killings also bothered bar owners that they have removed the song from their selections.

Scott Meslow of GQ Magazine described the song as “an execrable, inescapable song that nests in your brain like a virus as the tune moved between “monotonous plodding and totally unearned bombast.” The song was borrowed from a French song about a pathetic, failing marriage.

Experts theorized that the lyrics encourage “pride and arrogance in the singer, as if you’re somebody when you’re really nobody.”

Fans of Frank Sinatra say that the song is a victim of its own popularity. Videoke-related violence is more likely to occur due to violations of videoke protocol, like monopolizing the microphone, laughing at someone’s singing or choosing a song that has already been sung.


Source: IBT   The NY Times   GMA News  CBS News

Further Reading

Frank: The Voice

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