When Do I Get to Sing "My Way"

Album: Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins (1994)
Charted: 32
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Songfacts®:

  • This song finds Sparks lead singer Russell Mael anxious for his star turn, asking when he gets to sing his showstopper like Frank Sinatra sang "My Way."

    The song is a look at the slings and arrows of fame, complete with the vanity and madness that goes along with the ride. By the end of the song, his star has fallen, and he's left in domestic disarray:

    This home which once was serene
    Now is home to the screams
    And to flying plates and shoes
    But I have no souvenirs
    Of these crackerjack years
  • In a Songfacts interview with Sparks, Ron Mael talked about Sinatra's influence: "He was the first person who really figured out that LPs could have a theme. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning and Only The Lonely are two concept albums in a way, when nobody else was thinking of albums as songs that were related in that way. Not that we were necessarily inspired by that, but it was just that coolness of his thinking to realize that an LP could have one kind of mood to it through the choice of songs."
  • The video was directed by Sophie Muller, whose credits include "Use Somebody" for Kings of Leon and "Why" for Annie Lennox. The video is shot to look like a trailer for a classic film, complete with titles.

    The clip pokes fun at Sparks' dynamic: Russell Mael is the frontman, and his brother Ron does most of the songwriting and production. In real life, they get along surprisingly well and have a healthy working relationship, but in the video, they become torn apart by jealousy and hubris.
  • The song was a big enough commercial success to Sparks to the UK Top 40, the first time since "Beat the Clock" in 1979. It also was their biggest hit in Germany peaking at #7 and becoming that country's top airplay record for 1994.
  • Asked by Mojo for their worst ever disagreement, the notoriously agreeable Mael brothers could only think of when Russell figured Ron's lyrics to this song "didn't match the gravitas of a melody, so there was another option?" Ron said "my reaction was, you write it then!" Russell added: "But he went away and did it again, and look what happened."

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