Paul Anka was born in Ottawa, on July 30th, 1941. He developed a talent for song writing in high school (Fisher Park) and recorded his first single, “I Confess”, when he was just 14. In 1957, with $100 given to him by his uncle, he went to New York City where he auditioned for Don Costa at ABC Records, singing what he later confessed was plea to a girl at his church, whom he hardly knew. “Diana” brought Paul Anka instant fame, shooting to No. 1 on pop charts around the world. Before he’d turned 18, he had five Top-20 hits.
By the late ’50s, Paul Anka had established himself as a prolific and successful singer/songwriter, with numerous appearances on American Bandstand, The Perry Como Show and The Ed Sullivan Show. The early sixties brought the British Invasion, and Paul had already grown out of his teen-idol status, so he refocused his career and became a much sought after songwriter. His compositions for other artists helped catapult their careers: “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” for Buddy Holly, “She’s a Lady” for Tom Jones, “Puppy Love” for Donny Osmond, and of course, “My Way” for Frank Sinatra.
Over a show business career spanning close to 7 decades, Paul Anka continues to write and record. In 2013, he published an autobiography, not surprisingly called “My Way”, looking back over his career through a collection of stories and observations, from his Ottawa beginnings to his still-active present, mentoring many up and coming singers.
Tonight at 8 PM (July 30th), listen for a special birthday tribute to Paul Anka in the Lounge on the Jewel.
For even more insight, you might want to watch this very intimate documentary by the National Film Board from 1962. The film takes a candid look at both sides of the footlights as well as the promotion industry behind a generation of pop singers. Interviews with Paul Anka and his manager reveal what they think of it all. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=nrdqWM5X2zg