While on holiday in South of France in 1967, it is actually Paul Anka who first heard a very popular French pop song, Comme d’habitude (As Usual) performed by Claude François. He flew to Paris to negotiate the song’s rights.
Claude Francois’ success in France was as phenomenal as The Beatles’! He was a really big star and still is today.
The story says that some time later, back in New York, Anka re-wrote the original French song for Sinatra, changing the lyrics. The original French song is very powerful and sad. The lyrics are talking about a couple in a strained relationship after a long life together.
“At one o’clock in the morning, I sat down at an old IBM electric typewriter and said, ‘If Frank were writing this, what would he say?’ And I started, metaphorically, ‘And now the end is near.’ I read a lot of periodicals, and I noticed everything was ‘my this’ and ‘my that’. We were in the ‘me generation‘ and Frank became the guy for me to use to say that.”
Anka finished the song at 5 am. “I called Frank woke him up in Nevada – he was at Caesar’s Palace – and said, ‘I’ve got something really special for you.
The song was also a success for a variety of other performers including Elvis Presley and the Sex Pistols.