Did David Bowie Adapt the Song Paul Anka Used for “My Way” BEFORE Anka Wrote “My Way”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: David Bowie adapted the song Paul Anka used to write “My Way” before Anka!

In 1967, Claude François had a hit in France with the Jacques Revaux song “Comme D’Habitude” (lyrics by Claude François and Gilles Thibaut)…

In 1969, singer/songwriter Paul Anka acquired the rights to the song and used the tune to write a brand-new song (lyric-wise) called “My Way.”

Anka gave the song to Frank Sinatra, who used it as the title track to his 1969 album…

It was a big hit for Sinatra, and is now one of his most famous songs.

However, interestingly enough, another artist actually used the song BEFORE Anka got to it! And that artist was a young unknown singer by the name of David Bowie!

In 1968, Bowie (who had released an album already, but it was a small release and he was not very well known at all) wrote the song “Even a Fool Learns to Love,” based on the tune from “Comme D’Habitude.”

Bowie could not get a company to release the song as a single, and before he knew it, “My Way” was an international success, thereby ruining any chance he had of his song being a hit.

Bowie luckily found success in 1969 with his own hit single, “Space Oddity,” and his career was well on its way, but he did not forget about the whole “My Way” incident, and on his 1971 album Hunky Dory he had a song called “Life on Mars?” which is an ever so slight satire of Sinatra’s style of songs, especially “My Way.”

So in the end, while Bowie had to wait a little bit longer to become famous, we at least got two great songs out of the bargain, “My Way” and “Life on Mars?,” so we, the listener, come out pretty well in this affair!

The legend is…

STATUS: Basically True

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