In February, the New York Times reported that many Filipinos are reluctant to sing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” at karaoke bars because of the number of killings the song has allegedly triggered in recent years. “I used to like ‘My Way,'” said a man quoted by the Times, “but after all the trouble, I stopped singing it. You can get killed.”
Karaoke seems to be enormously popular in the Philippines, and according to the article, so is violence. The result is that some believe that rather than any particular song being to blame, it is just statistically more likely in the Philippines that singing and violence will coincide. But many believe the song itself is dangerous. At least six deaths have been linked to “My Way” over the past decade, and the media refers to these as the “My Way Killings.” “The trouble with ‘My Way,'” said one bar patron, “is that everyone knows it and everyone has an opinion.” Butcher it, and you may have a serious problem. “[M]ost of the ‘My Way’ killings,” said the Times, “have reported occurred after the singer sang out of tune, causing other patrons to laugh or jeer.”
The article also points out that karaoke-related violence happens in other countries, too. In just the last two years, a Malaysian man paid with his life for hogging the microphone, and authorities in Thailand said that a man there killed eight of his neighbors for singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” (Granted, John Denver karaoke is practically a war crime, but you can’t take matters into your own hands.) In this country, the worst karaoke violence I know of is the 2007 incident in Seattle where a woman attacked a man who was attempting the Coldplay song “Yellow.” She just threw some punches, though, and under the circumstances, it is hard to blame her for that.