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Profile: Paul Anka


Paul Anka

Paul Anka

source: static.last.fm


July 30, 1941, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Pop, Adult Contemporary



Contributions to music:

  • One of pop's first post-Elvis teen idols
  • A teenage songwriting prodigy who wrote for Buddy Holly, Frank Sinatra, and Tom Jones
  • One of the first pop stars to make the successful transition to Vegas and movies
  • In its time, his 1959 hit "Diana" was the second most successful single in history

Early years:

A true prodigy, Paul Anka had already been performing in the nightclubs of Quebec for two years when, at the tender age of 14, h convinced an Los Angeles label, Modern, to record and release a song of his called "I Confess." It didn't achieve much success, but two years later, encouraged by his father to try again in New York, Paul convinced ABC's Don Costa to release another single, a heartbroken calypso-flavored ballad called "Diana," originally written as a poem to a babysitter three years older than he. Soon, it became the biggest selling single in history, next to Bing Crosby's "White Christmas."


Paul was soon groomed as one of a new generation of teen idols, clean-cut young lads who could write rock-flavored pop songs without appearing controversial in any way. By the early 1960's, Anka, now a man, yearned to expand his career, arranging and producing records and starring in several Hollywood movies, the most notable of which was the World War II drama The Longest Day. He soon switched to a more adult contemporary brand of pop, playing Vegas and the "supper club" circuit; while he continued to score AC hits, however, his success on the pop charts seemed to be over.

Later years:

In the early Seventies, Anka engineered a comeback, recording "(You're) Having My Baby" and several duets with singer Odia Coates. He also turned a commercial jingle he'd written for Kodak, "The Times Of Your Life," into a standalone hit. Though his string of soft-rock hits had again faltered by the early Eighties, he remained a strong concert draw, and surprised many in 2005 with the commercial and critical success of his Rock Swings CD, a jazzy take on alternative rock songs. Today, he is the headliner at Vegas' Trump Plaza Casino.

Other facts:

  • The babysitter "Diana" fell for Paul after his hit, but by then he wasn't interested
  • Wrote "Puppy Love" about a teenage romance he had with Annette Funicello
  • The youngest singer to ever headline at New York's Copacabana nightclub
  • Featured on the infamous 1959 "Winter Dance Party" tour during which Buddy Holly's plane crashed, but stayed behind before it occurred at the request of his manager
  • Changed "Having My Baby" to "Having Our Baby" after feminists complained
  • Subject of an infamous backstage rant taped by an employee in 1974
  • A character on the TV show Gilmore Girls has a dog named after him


  • Songwriters Hall of Fame (1993)
  • Canadian Music Hall of Fame (1980)
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame (6840 Hollywood Blvd.)

Recorded work:

#1 hits:
  • "Diana" (1957)
  • "Lonely Boy" (1959)
  • "(You're) Having My Baby" (1974)
  • "Diana" (1957)
Top 10 hits:
  • "You Are My Destiny" (1958)
  • "It's Time To Cry" (1959)
  • "Put Your Head On My Shoulder" (1959)
  • "My Home Town" (1960)
  • "Puppy Love" (1960)
  • "Dance On Little Girl" (1960)
  • "I Don't Like To Sleep Alone" (1975)
  • "One Man Woman/One Woman Man" (1975)
  • "Times Of Your Life" (1976)
  • "Lonely Boy" (1959)
Top 10 albums:
  • Paul Anka Sings His Big 15 (1960)
  • Anka (1974)
  • Rock Swings (2006)
Other popular recordings: "Crazy Love," "Let The Bells Keep Ringing," "(All Of A Sudden) My Heart Sings," "Summer's Gone," "Tonight My Love, Tonight," "The Story Of My Love," "Eso Beso (That Kiss!)," "Love Me Warm And Tender," "A Steel Guitar And A Glass Of Wine," "Love (Makes The World Go 'Round)," "Goodnight My Love (Pleasant Dreams)," "(I Believe) There's Nothing Stronger Than Our Love," "This Is Love," "Hold Me 'til The Morning Comes," "Mi Pueblo (My Hometown)"
Wrote or co-wrote: "The Tonight Show Theme"; "It Doesn't Matter Anymore," Buddy Holly; "She's A Lady," Tom Jones; "My Way," Frank Sinatra Appears in the movies: "Girls Town" (1959), "The Private Lives Of Adam And Eve" (1960), "Look In Any Window" (1961), "The Longest Day" (1962), "Captain Ron" (1992), "Ordinary Magic" (1993), "Mad Dog Time" (1996), "3000 Miles To Graceland" (2001)
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