In 1978, John Simon Ritchie, a drug-addict screwup who couldn’t sing and could barely play the bass guitar, went into a studio and recorded the standard “My Way.’’
Ritchie, known to many as Sid Vicious, started the song out slow with a warble that would make dogs howl. Then the power gets ratcheted up and the band starts punking it up. He changed the words around and dirtied them up quite a bit to include the f-word and c-word.
His voice was still garbage, but that was OK. He did it his way.
In his video, a tuxedoed Vicious sings in front of a crowd and then pulls out a gun and shoots members of the crowd.
It was shameful.
It was disrespectful.
It was awful.
And I liked it.
Paul Anka, the guy who wrote the song, wasn’t sure what to make out of the Vicious version. Shortly after recording the song, Vicious stabbed and killed his girlfriend and then died of a heroin overdose at the age of 21.
He did it his way.
Anyway, I’m not here to talk about the waste of life that was John Simon Ritchie. I am here to talk about the song.
This song was anti-everything. The kind of song our parents hated.
It was snotty and a raised middle finger to the establishment. His former band, the Sex Pistols, built a small industry being controversial and oozing of punk attitude. Some of it was sincere. Some of it was just to make money.
This song actually went to No. 7 on the charts in jolly ol’ England but in the un-jolly ol’ United States, it was seldom heard. It surfaced brilliantly at the end of the “Goodfellas” and popped up in “Juan of the Dead” and the TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’’
And now it’s in a car commercial.
Yes, an edgy Acura TLX commercial blasts Vicious’s vicious “My Way” — minus the bad words — as the main music in the ad.
On a commercial?
Good ol’ Sid must be either spinning in his grave or laughing in his suite in Hell.
I usually follow the “never say never” philosophy when it comes to pop culture. Elvis Presley was so controversial because he swung his pelvis back in the day and he grew into iconic status. My own favorite group, the Ramones, received more love after they died than they did when they were making albums and performing live. Filthy funnyman George Carlin morphed into the narrator for “Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends” TV show.
Never say never.
But I never thought I would hear Sid’s version of “My Way” on a car commercial.
“It is an edgy interpretation of a classic song that we think aligns very well with what the brand is all about,” Mike Accavitti, general manager of the Acura division of American Honda Motor Co., told Adweek’s website.
Hopefully, the “brand” won’t be shooting audience members.
Anyway, it just goes to show that time has a funny way of forgiving and forgetting controversy of the past. We’ll see if G.G. Allin or GWAR ever gets to that status.
So when you hear some of your teenage kid’s rap music and you think there is no way it will be accepted into the mainstream…give it a couple of decades.
A very stupid rule
Not to be Scrooge when it comes to the great feel-good story of Jackie Robinson West’s national baseball championship, but there is something bugging me about the Little League World Series.
The tournament is supposed to be double-elimination. That means a team has to lose twice before it is bounced from the event.
Yet, for some goofy reason, the rules change for the national championship game. If becomes single-elimination. Las Vegas killed the Chicago heroes, 13-2, and everyone else that got in its way en route to the title game.
JRW and Las Vegas played in a national championship game that was fun to watch and our fellas won, 7-5. It was very exciting and helped wake up a sport that tends to be sleepy.
But Las Vegas was knocked out of his so-called double-elimination tournament after losing just one game because of some stupid and unfair rule that was introduced a couple of years ago. They call the tournament a modified double elimination tournament.
The Grantland website quotes the LLWS rules as:
“In a standard double-elimination tournament, the team coming out of the losers’ bracket, which would have one loss, would have to twice defeat the winners’ bracket finalist in order to advance. However, under the modified double-elimination format, Phase One ends with the final game of the losers’ bracket.
That means there is no “if-necessary” game in either bracket. Instead, the winners’ bracket finalist and the losers’ bracket finalist are the two teams in each bracket (for a total of four teams) that move on to Phase Two.”
It’s necessary to have an ‘‘if necessary’’ game because Las Vegas clearly was the best team in the first three games, beating opponents 12-2, 13-2 and 8-1.
If the “if necessary” game were played, my gut feeling is that Las Vegas comes back and rolls in that game.
But we will never know.
Look, I don’t care anything about the Las Vegas kids. I don’t know if this is true, but their demeanor is that they appeared to be a group of cocky rich kids who needed to be knocked down a peg.
And if Jackie Robinson was the dominant team and got screwed by these idiotic rules, I probably would have been yelling about this in last week’s column and it wouldn’t have been second-fiddle to Sid Vicious.
But fair is fair and this is unfair.
Jackie Robinson West played by the rules and the Chicago kids are national champions.
But I’m not so sure it was the best team.
Have a Hart
There were a few people who thought former Evergreen Park football coach Dan Hartman may have stepped into a hornet’s nest by accepting a job at Hinsdale Central, which is a place that has parents and community members who don’t take losses very well.
Well, the guy made a terrific first impression. His Red Devils beat Bolingbrook, 23-15 on Friday night. Bolingbrook was ranked No. 1 on just about everybody’s local polls.
So, for at least this week, Hartman is the man of the hour in Hinsdale. Fans are puffing their chests a little this week. All is good and right in the world in Red Devil-land.
But on Oct. 11, the pressure will be on to beat Hinsdale South, coached by another former EP coach, Mike Barry. South’s nickname is the Hornets, so it Hartman’s troops don’t win that game, it will be the proverbial hornet’s nest for him…