Paul Anka heard the original 1967 French pop song, Comme d'habitude performed by Claude Francois with music by Jacques Revaux and lyrics by Gilles Thibault, while on holiday in the south of France. He flew to Paris to negotiate the rights to the song. In a 2007 interview, he said: "I thought it was a shitty record, but there was something in it." He acquired publishing rights at no cost and, two years later, had a dinner in Florida with Frank Sinatra and "a couple of Mob guys" at which Sinatra said he was "quitting the business. I'm sick of it, I'm getting the hell out".
Back in New York, Anka re-wrote the original French song for Sinatra, subtly altering the melodic structure and changing the lyrics: "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. I used words I would never use: 'I ate it up and spit it out.' But that's the way he talked. I used to be around steam rooms with the Rat Pack guys - they liked to talk like Mob guys, even though they would have been scared of their own shadows." Anka finished the song at 5am. "I called Frank up in Nevada - he was at Caesar's Palace - and said, 'I've got something really special for you.'"Anka claimed: "When my record company caught wind of it, they were very pissed that I didn't keep it for myself. I said, 'Hey, I can write it, but I'm not the guy to sing it.' It was for Frank, no one else."
The Original - Frank Sinatra
The Cover - Sid Vicious