We’ve all gotten talked into doing karaoke at some point or another, or maybe it’s one of your secret passions (I’m not judging). Whatever circumstance leads you to the stage on karaoke night, here’s a tip: Avoid “My Way” by Frank Sinatra. It doesn’t matter if it’s Rat Pack night. It doesn’t matter if you happened to wear your best fedora. It doesn’t even matter if you could be a voice double for Ol’ Blue Eyes himself. If you value your life, do not allow yourself to be seduced by “My Way” when you see it in the selection book—it’s literally a killer.
In 2007, a man was performing the song in San Mateo in the Philippines when a security guard loudly informed the singer that he was off-key. When man continued to croon, the guard pulled out a .38 caliber pistol and shot the performer in the chest, killing him.
Freak occurrence? Nope. Since 2000, at least half a dozen people have been murdered after (or while) performing the Sinatra classic. Dubbed the “‘My Way’ Killings,” the strange phenomenon has gotten so bad that some bar owners have removed it from the selection list entirely.
Theories abound as to why this particular song seems to evoke such violence. It could be that the song is just so Sinatra that anyone else who sings it is bound to pale in comparison. It could be, according to singing school owner Butch Albarracin, that the lyrics inspire “pride and arrogance in the singer, as if you’re somebody when you’re really nobody.” Pop culture expert Roland Tolentino believes it’s all about location—these killings have all occurred in the Philippines. “The Philippines is a very violent society, so karaoke only triggers what already exists here when certain social rules are broken,” he said.
While the “My Way” Killings do seem to be limited to a certain locale, karaoke rage seems to happen all over the world. My advice: The next time you find yourself with a microphone and a screen of lyrics in front of your face, opt for something—anything—other than Sinatra.