In The Philippines, Sinatra Kills—Literally

If there is one thing I hate in music, it’s when someone tries to cover a legendary/iconic standard. With the exception of the National Anthem, there are certain songs not open for reinterpretation—but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna shoot you if you mess up “Weak” by SWV. In the Philippines, “My Way” by Frank Sinatra is beloved in karaoke culture that bad renditions are met with boos…and a possible gun to the temple. Says the New York Times:

” 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 killings have produced urban legends about the song and left Filipinos groping for answers. Are the killings the natural byproduct of the country’s culture of violence, drinking and machismo? Or is there something inherently sinister in the song?”

Wow. Is it that serious mi Filipinos? And what is it about Sinatra that gets your blood boiling? This all got me to thinking—what songs literally “kill” in our culture? What are the gems that we hold so tightly, that a bad note can lead to a butt whooping? Here is my quirky list:

– “Devotion by Earth Wind & Fire
– “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross
– “Ex-Factor” by Lauryn Hill
– “Hangin’ On a String” Loose Ends
– “Outside Your Door” Me’Shell Ndegéocello
– “Immigrant Song,” “Black Dog,” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby” by Led Zepplin…unless you are Janis Joplin
– Anything by Janis Joplin

Sinatra Song Often Strikes Deadly Chord

image: Jes Aznar for The New York Times

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