Interviewed in 2007, Paul Anka said he had been "somewhat destabilized by the Sex Pistols' version.
It was kind of curious, but I felt he (Sid Vicious) was sincere about it." Vicious' reference to a "prat who wears hats" was an in-joke directed towards Vicious' friend and Sex Pistols bandmate Johnny Rotten, who was fond of wearing different kinds of hats he would pick up at rummage sales.
He flew to Paris to negotiate the rights to the song.
"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.
Although the censored version was still controversial, it merely showed Sid wildly shooting a gun towards the crowd.
All of the footage of the bullet impacts and corpses were removed.
Anka's English lyrics are unrelated to the original French song.
The song was a success for a variety of performers including Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and the Sex Pistols.
The following year the single reached number 2 on the Billboard Country singles chart but went all the way to number 1 on the rival Cash Box Country Singles chart.
In the UK, it reached number 9 on the UK Singles Chart.
An edited version of Vicious's cover is played during the closing credits of the films Goodfellas and Juan of the Dead.