First, and most obvious, is something you can glean from the title. That’s life. It’s the kind of thing people say when something bad happens and they just don’t know what else to say.
It’s usually not about something tragic. You’d have to be pretty callous to say that to someone who lost a loved one, or had some other major life calamity.
But it can cover some important things. Money and career. Spiritual and material. Love and marriage.
There’s a lot more to it, of course.
I think a lot of people take it simply at face value, as if to just shrug their shoulders and attribute any misfortune to the cruel, randomness of the universe. That’s life.
But the song is more about getting back up and trying again, never giving up. Even though you may be flying high right now, and you know you could be down next month, you have to try. Get back up and get back in the race.
I’ve struggled with this myself plenty of times. There have been weeks where it just seems like everything that can go wrong has, and I’ve felt sorry for myself, almost resigned to accepting that this is my lot, it will never get better and, well, that’s life.
That’s not life, though. That’s death.
Nothing worthwhile is easy. And even if everything looks bleak now, you should keep going. Persevere. We can all be a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king. At least, we can be if we work for it, if we keep at it, if we never give up.
One of the other things I really like about this song is its history.
At a time when the Beatles had taken over the airwaves and the record charts, Frank Sinatra found a way to have a top five hit! In fact, I remember hearing a rumor that Frank sent Elvis a telegram when this song hit the top of the charts, telling him that if he (Elvis) couldn’t take care of the Beatles than he (Frank) would!
Frank had two big hits in 1966 (the other being “Strangers In The Night”). Before that, he hadn’t had a song in the top ten in ten years!
So the song’s history really echoes that theme of perseverance!
And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the song, and Frank Sinatra in general, makes me think of Las Vegas.
Of course, I’ve been thinking a lot about Las Vegas lately, since we’re heading there next month!
In fact, I’ve been making my own Tarot deck, based on Psychic Jukebox songs, and I’ll be debuting that in Vegas next month!
That’s just a really small part of all the cool things we have planned for that weekend. You can get all the details on that RIGHT HERE!
Okay, sales pitch over.
One of the other really cool things about this song is that it has been covered by a lot of people. Aretha Franklin, James Brown, David Lee Roth, Van Morrison, Bono and Katharine McPhee have all recorded versions of it!
But Frank’s is my favorite.
So here’s a video of Frank Sinatra, performing the song live around the time it was released as a single (complete with about a minute’s worth of banter with the audience)!
Give it a listen, and next time life knocks you down, make sure you get back up and get back in the race!