Synopsis of Pop Music
“Put your head on my shoulder,
Whisper in my ear, baby,
Words I want to hear, baby,
Put your head on my shoulder...”
Most teen idols concentrate on a young audience, but Paul Anka always had his eye on the prize of mass stardom. He aimed to please everyone and built himself a handsome career as an all-around entertainer, songwriter and entrepreneur in the process.
Anka developed a love affair with show business early in life. By age 11, he was entertaining crowds as an impressionist and singer in his native Ottawa. By age 15, he had written and recorded his first single, “I Confess.” The next year he had his first smash hit as a writer/performer with the classic teen torch song, “Diana.” It told the story of a young teen boy who was in love with a girl a few years older, based on Anka’s unrequited love for his former babysitter.
The song’s inventive instrumental backing presented a sultry mix of calypso and cha-cha while Anka topped it off with an impassioned vocal that set countless young hearts racing. "Diana" raced to #1 worldwide, ultimately selling 9 million copies. Since then it has been re-recorded over three hundred times in sixteen different countries. These feats alone guaranteed Anka a place in pop history, but as time revealed, Paul Anka was only getting started.
Anka continued to write and record in his teen-idol guise, ruling the pop charts into the early 60’s with a string of Top-10 hits like "You Are My Destiny," "Put Your Head On My Shoulder," "My Home Town," "It's Time To Cry," "Dance On Little Girl" and "Puppy Love." During this time, Anka added the role of actor to his resume with a film called Girl’s Town. In this film, he also performed one of his most memorable hits, “Lonely Boy.” Anka would continue to act in films like Look In Any Window and The Longest Day.
As Anka grew out of his teen-idol days, he turned his attention to making the transition to all-around entertainer. He became the first pop performer to work in Las Vegas, as well as the youngest performer to headline at New York’s prestigious Copacabana Club. Anka also became a fixture on television by hosting shows like Hullabaloo, Spotlite and The Midnight Special. In the mid-60’s, Anka moved to Europe and set his sights on the international market. He recorded albums in Japanese, Spanish, French, German and Italian with material specifically designed for each country’s culture.
Between all of this activity, Anka also found the time to become an in-demand songwriter. He penned the universally-known Tonight Show theme song in 1962. Before that, he had written one of Buddy Holly’s last hits, “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.” Anka would later write Tom Jones’ biggest hit, “She’s A Lady,” and the English lyrics for a French-language song called “Comme D’habitude.” Anka’s English version was called “My Way” and became a pop classic recorded by countless artists, most notably Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.
In the 70’s, Paul Anka experienced a serious upswing in popularity. The teen-idol craze of the early 70’s led to successful cover versions of Anka classics like “Puppy Love” by Donny Osmond and others. Anka himself found new success via a series of duets with Odia Coates. This duo went to number one on the charts in 1974 with “You’re Having My Baby.” They would also hit big with “One Man Woman/One Woman Man” (#7), “I Don’t Like To Sleep Alone” (#8) and “(I Believe) There’s Nothing Stronger Than Our Love” (#15). Anka also had a solo hit in 1976 with “Times Of Your Life,” which was also used by camera company Kodak as part of a successful, high-profile ad campaign.
By the 80’s, Paul Anka had solidified an impressive career on several showbiz fronts. He had successfully pulled off the difficult feat of staying vital in the ever-changing world of music by racking up a Top-50 hit in five consecutive decades. He continues to record and has released over 120 albums during his career. Today, Anka concentrates on a busy performing schedule that takes him to casinos and concert halls around the world. He refuses to rest on his laurels, and this attitude has made Paul Anka a show-business institution.
Artist Release History1962 - ?
Pop Sub Categoriespop
Essential Music Albums30th Anniversary Collection (Rhino)
The Best of The United Artists Years:1973-1977 (Capitol)
The Essential RCA Rock ‘N’ Roll Recordings (Taragon)