Anka at the 2007 North Sea Jazz Festival
|Birth name||Paul Albert Anka|
July 30, 1941 |
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
|Genres||Pop, soft rock, jazz, doo-wop|
|Instruments||Vocals, piano, guitar|
|Labels||ABC-Paramount, EMI Columbia, RCA, United Artists, Columbia|
Paul Albert Anka, OC (born July 30, 1941) is a Canadian-American singer, songwriter, and actor. Anka became famous in the late 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s with hit songs like "Diana", "Lonely Boy", "Put Your Head on My Shoulder", and "(You're) Having My Baby". He wrote such well-known music as the theme for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and one of Tom Jones's biggest hits, "She's a Lady", as well as the English lyrics for Frank Sinatra's signature song, "My Way", which has been covered by many including Elvis Presley. He was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in 2005.
In 1983, he co-wrote the song "I Never Heard" with Michael Jackson. It was retitled and released in 2009 under the name "This Is It". An additional song that Jackson co-wrote with Anka from this 1983 session, "Love Never Felt So Good", was since discovered and was released on Jackson's posthumous album Xscape in 2014. The song was also released by Johnny Mathis in 1984.
Anka became a naturalized US citizen in 1990.
Anka was born in Ottawa, Ontario to Camelia (née Tannis) and Andrew Emile "Andy" Anka, Sr., who owned a restaurant called the Locanda. His parents were both Antiochian Orthodox Christians. Anka's father (Andy) and his mother (Camelia) were Canadian-Lebanese "from the town of Kfarmishki, in Lebanon."
Anka sang with the St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church choir under the direction of Frederick Karam, with whom he studied music theory. He studied piano with Winnifred Rees. He attended Fisher Park High School, where he was part of a vocal trio called the Bobby Soxers.
Paul Anka recorded his first single, "I Confess", when he was 14. In 1957 he went to New York City where he auditioned for Don Costa at ABC, singing what was widely believed to be a lovestruck verse he had written to a former babysitter. In an interview with NPR's Terry Gross in 2005, he stated that it was to a girl at his church whom he hardly knew. The song "Diana" brought Anka stardom as it rocketed to #1 on the Canadian and U.S. music charts. "Diana" is one of the best selling singles ever by a Canadian recording artist. He followed up with four songs that made it into the Top 20 in 1958, including "It's Time to Cry", which hit #4 and "(All Of a Sudden) My Heart Sings", which reached #15, making him (at 17) one of the biggest teen idols of the time. He toured Britain, then Australia with Buddy Holly. Anka also wrote "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" – a song written for Holly, which Holly recorded just before he died in 1959. Anka stated shortly afterward:
"It Doesn't Matter Anymore" has a tragic irony about it now, but at least it will help look after Buddy Holly's family. I'm giving my composer's royalty to his widow – it's the least I can do.
Paul Anka's talent included the theme for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (reworked in 1962 from a song Anka wrote earlier called "Toot Sweet"; it had been rewritten with lyrics and recorded by Annette Funicello in 1959 as "It's Really Love"). Anka composed Tom Jones's biggest hit record, "She's a Lady", and wrote the English lyrics to "My Way", Frank Sinatra's signature song (originally the French song "Comme d'habitude"). In the 1960s Anka began acting in motion pictures as well as writing songs for them, most notably the theme for the hit film The Longest Day (which also was the official march of the Canadian Airborne Regiment), in which he made a cameo appearance as a US Army Ranger. For his film work he wrote and recorded one of his greatest hits, "Lonely Boy". He also wrote and recorded "My Home Town", which was a #8 pop hit for him the same year. He then went on to become one of the first pop singers to perform at the Las Vegas casinos. In 1960 he appeared twice as himself in NBC's short-lived crime drama Dan Raven.
In 1960, Anka signed with RCA Victor. He bought the rights and ownership of his ABC-Paramount catalog in 1963, but like most North American recording artists saw his career stalled by the British Invasion. By the late 1960s, his career focused on adult contemporary and big-band standards, played regularly in Las Vegas. In the early 1970s he signed with Buddah Records. After more than ten years without a top 25 hit record, he signed with United Artists and in 1974 teamed up with Odia Coates to record the #1 hit, "(You're) Having My Baby". The two would record two more duets that made it into the Top 10, "One Man Woman/One Woman Man" (#7) and "I Don't Like to Sleep Alone" (#8), and the #15 duet "(I Believe) There's Nothing Stronger Than Our Love". In 1975 he recorded a jingle for Kodak written by Bill Lane (lyrics) and Roger Nichols (melody) called "Times of Your Life". It became so popular Anka recorded it as a full song, which peaked at #7 in the U.S. pop chart in 1976. The follow-up was another hit that Anka wrote for Sinatra, "Anytime (I'll Be There)", peaking at #33. Anka's last Top 40 hit in the U.S. was in the summer of 1983: "Hold Me 'Til The Mornin' Comes", which included backing vocals from then-Chicago frontman Peter Cetera; it hit #2 on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart.
His 1998 album A Body of Work was his first new U.S. studio release since Walk a Fine Line in 1983; vocalists and performers included Celine Dion, Kenny G, Patti LaBelle, and Skyler Jett. The album included a new version of "Hold Me 'Til the Morning Comes", once again performed with Peter Cetera. In 2005, his album of big-band arrangements of contemporary standards, Rock Swings, provided a mainstream comeback of sorts that saw him awarded a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto.
On October 12, 2009, Anka stated that Michael Jackson's new release titled "This Is It" was a collaborative effort between the two in 1983. According to Anka, after recording the song, Jackson decided not to use it and the tune was then recorded and released by Sa-Fire. After Anka threatened to sue for credit and a share of royalties, the administrators of Jackson's estate granted Anka 50% of the copyright. An additional song that Jackson co-wrote with Anka from this 1983 session, "Love Never Felt So Good", was discovered shortly thereafter. His album Songs of December charted at #58 in Canada in November 2011.
Already locally famous as a teenage idol for his songs in English, Anka hit the Italian market with "Summer's Gone" in 1960; it was released as "Dove Sei". The record got immediate success, reaching #4 on Italian hit lists, opening a promising foreign career. Anka then underwent an intense collaboration with Italian musicians of the time, including composer/director Ennio Morricone, singer/songwriter Lucio Battisti, and lyricist Mogol. His official discography reports nine singles released by RCA Italy, but the Italian charts list at least six other songs he interpreted or recorded in Italian. His top hit was "Ogni giorno" which scored #1 in 1962, followed by "Piangerò per te" and "Ogni volta", which reached both #2, in 1963 and 1964. "Ogni volta" ("Every Time") was sung by Anka during the Festival di Sanremo of 1964 and then sold more than one million copies in Italy alone; it was also awarded a gold disc.
He returned to San Remo in 1968 with "La farfalla impazzita" by Battisti-Mogol. On that occasion the same title was interpreted by Italian crooner Johnny Dorelli. The pair of singers, however, were eliminated before the final stage of the competition. Anka, maybe only coincidentally, left the Italian scene shortly thereafter. In 2003 Anka came back with an exclusive concert in Bologna, organized by the Italian company Mapei during the CERSAIE exhibition. He recorded a version of "My Way" with alternate lyrics dedicated to the sponsor of the evening.
In 2006, he recorded a duet with 1960s Italian hitmaker Adriano Celentano, a new cover of "Diana," with Italian lyrics by Celentano-Mogol and with singer/songwriter Alex Britti on the guitar. The song hit #3.
With less success than in Italy, Anka tried the French market as well. At least two songs by Anka with French lyrics are known: one reported by the Italian charts ("Faibles Femmes", 1959) and another reported by his official discography ("Comme Avant") with Mireille Mathieu. A single release in Japanese ("Kokoro No Sasae"/"Shiawase E No Tabiji") is also reported on his discography. In 1993 he recorded a duet with Philippine singer Regine Velasquez entitled "It's Hard to Say Goodbye", included in her album, Reason Enough. This song was re-recorded several years later by Anka and Celine Dion and was included in his album A Body of Work.
Anka was married to Anne de Zogheb, the daughter of a Lebanese diplomat, Charles de Zogheb, from February 16, 1963, until 2001. The couple met in 1962 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she was a fashion model on assignment and under contract to the Eileen Ford Agency. Zogheb, brought up in Egypt, is of Lebanese, English, French, Dutch, and Greek descent. The couple married the following year in a ceremony at Paris-Orly Airport. She quit modelling after their second child was born. They have five daughters: Amelia, Anthea, Alicia, Amanda (married to actor Jason Bateman), and Alexandra.
In 2008, Anka married his personal trainer, Anna Åberg, in Sardinia. They divorced in 2010 and share custody of their son, Ethan. Anna was featured in the Swedish TV3 show Svenska Hollywoodfruar (Swedish Hollywood wives).
In 1972, a street in Ottawa was named Paul Anka Drive. In 1981, the Ottawa City Council named August 26 as "Paul Anka Day" to celebrate his quarter-century in show business. On September 6, 1990, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
Anka has written an autobiography, My Way, co-written with David Dalton.
Anka's first acting role in a major film was in a cameo as an army private in The Longest Day (1962). He also composed the title song to the movie. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, he starred in such teen exploitation films as Girls Town (1959) and Look in Any Window (1961), in which he played a peeping tom. He later played an Elvis-hating casino pit manager in 3000 Miles To Graceland (2001) and a yacht broker in Captain Ron (1992). He guest-starred as a murder suspect in The Case of the Maligned Mobster (1991). In October 1995, he appeared as himself in the episode "Treehouse of Horror VI" on The Simpsons. He made guest appearances as himself in the episode "Red's Last Day" on That '70s Show and in "The Real Paul Anka" episode of Gilmore Girls. He made several appearances on the NBC TV series Las Vegas.
Other film and television appearances
Anka was the subject of the 1962 National Film Board of Canada documentary Lonely Boy, considered a classic work of cinema verite. He wrote and performed songs in a 1985 Canadian children's Christmas cartoon, George and the Christmas Star. In American Idol's seasons 2 and 3, he made a special appearance and sang an adapted version of "My Way" that mocked the format of the show, as well as participants, judges, and the host. The performance was praised as "One of the Best Moments in American Idol". He was also the namesake of Lorelai's dog in Gilmore Girls and made an appearance in a dream in which both dog Paul Anka and real Paul Anka interacted.
In the mid-1980s, Anka was secretly recorded while launching a tirade against his crew and band members, berating them for behavior that he considered unprofessional. When asked about it on the interview program Fresh Air, he referred to the person who did the recording as a "snake we later fired". The recording became widely known after being uploaded to the Internet and a number of quotes from it have since become famous, including "The guys get shirts!"; "Don't make a maniac out of me!"; and "Slice like a fucking hammer!". Some of the quotes were reproduced verbatim by Al Pacino's character in the 2007 film Ocean's Thirteen.
He was mentioned in the "Fish Licence" sketch in the tenth episode of Series 2 (23rd overall) of Monty Python's Flying Circus, which was first broadcast on December 1, 1970. Dealing with a postal clerk (Michael Palin) who thought it absurd to give all of one's pets the same name, Praline, (John Cleese) countered that there was nothing wrong with it, citing Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as an example. To support his argument, he submitted as evidence an entry from the book "Kemal Ataturk, the Man by E.W. Swanton with a foreword by Paul Anka".
On Gilmore Girls, Lorelai Gilmore named her Polish Lowland Sheepdog after Anka. Series co-creator Daniel Palladino chose the name after hearing the Rock Swings album at a coffeehouse. In the cold open to the episode The Real Paul Anka, both Paul Ankas were featured in a dream sequence Lorelei describes to her daughter, Rory.
|1959||Verboten!||Self, behind opening credits|
|1959||Girls Town||Jimmy Parlow|
|1960||The Private Lives of Adam and Eve||Pinkie Parker|
|1961||Look in Any Window||Craig Fowler|
|1961||The Seasons of Youth||Self||Documentary|
|1961||Make Room for Daddy||Paul Pryor in episode Old Man Danny||TV Series|
|1962||The Longest Day||U.S. Army Ranger|
|1965||The Red Skelton Hour||Bonnie Prince Gorgeous in episode Nuts of the Round Table||TV Series|
|1974||Kojak||Buddy Maus in episode The Betrayal||TV Series|
|1977||Lindsay Wagner: Another Side of Me||Self||TV Special|
|1977||Elvis in Concert||No role - Soundtrack #12: My Way written by Paul Anka||TV Special|
|1982||The Paul Anka Show||Host||TV Series|
|1983||The Fall Guy||Vic Madison in episode Dirty Laundry||TV Series|
|1987||Crime Story||Anthony 'Tony' Dio in episode Top of the World||TV Series|
|1991||Perry Mason: The Case of the Maligned Mobster||Nick Angel||TV Movie|
|1992||Captain Ron||Yacht Broker Donaldson|
|1993||Ordinary Magic||Joey Dean|
|1994||Shake, Rattle and Rock!||Self||TV Movie|
|1996||Mad Dog Time||Danny Marks|
|2001||3000 Miles to Graceland||Pit Boss #1|
|2005||Las Vegas!||Self in episode Fake the Money and Run||TV Series|
|1958||Paul Anka||ABC Paramount||LP||-||-|
|1959||My Heart Sings||ABC Paramount||CD, LP||-||-|
|1960||Anka at the Copa (live album)||ABC Paramount||LP||23||-|
|1960||Swings For Young Lovers||ABC Paramount||CD, LP||-||-|
|1960||It's Christmas Everywhere||ABC Paramount||LP||-||-|
|1962||Young, Alive, and In Love!||RCA||LP||61||-|
|1962||Let's Sit This One Out||RCA||LP||137||-|
|1963||3 Great Guys (Paul Anka, Sam Cooke and Neil Sedaka)||RCA||LP||-||-|
|1969||Goodnight My Love||RCA||LP||101||-|
|1969||Life Goes On||RCA||LP||194||-|
|1972||Paul Anka||Buddah||CD, LP||188||-|
|1974||Anka||United Artists||CD, LP||9||Gold|
|1975||Feelings||United Artists||CD, LP||36||-|
|1975||Times of Your Life (9 of 10 cuts from previous 2 albums)||United Artists||LP||22||Gold|
|1976||The Painter||United Artists||CD, LP||85||-|
|1977||The Music Man||United Artists||LP||195||-|
|1978||Listen to Your Heart||RCA||LP||179||-|
|1981||Both Sides of Love||RCA||LP||171||-|
|1983||Walk a Fine Line||Columbia||CD, LP||156||-|
|1987||Freedom For The World (titled Freedom in Canada)||A&M||CD, LP||-||-|
|1989||Somebody Loves You||Polydor||CD||-||-|
|1996||Amigos (Duets in Spanish)||Sony||CD||-||-|
|2005||Rock Swings||Verve||CD||120 (9 UK)||-|
|2007||Classic Songs, My Way||Decca||CD||139||-|
|2011||Songs of December||Decca||CD||-||-|
|1959||Paul Anka Sings His Big 15||ABC Paramount||CD, LP||4||-|
|1961||Paul Anka Sings His Big 15, Vol. 2||ABC Paramount||LP||72||-|
|1962||Paul Anka Sings His Big 15, Vol. 3||ABC Paramount||LP||-||-|
|1962||Diana||ABC Paramount||CD, LP||-||-|
|1963||Paul Anka's 21 Golden Hits||RCA||CD, LP||65||-|
|1969||Diana: Paul Anka Sings His Greatest Hits||RCA||LP||-||-|
|1989||30th Anniversary Collection||Rhino||CD||-||-|
|1991||Five Decades Greatest Hits||Curb||CD||-||-|
|1992||My Greatest Songs||RCA||CD||-||-|
|1993||In the 70s||RCA||CD||-||-|
|2003||Absolutely the Best of Paul Anka: The 70s||EMI||CD||-||-|
|2013||Dianacally Yours||Bear Family||CD||-||-|
|Year||Single (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
b/w "Don't Gamble With Love" (from Paul Anka Sings His Big 15)
|2||-||1||1||2||-||Paul Anka (ABC-Paramount album)|
|"I Love You, Baby" /||97||-||-||3||-||-||Paul Anka Sings His Big 15|
|"Tell Me That You Love Me"||-||-||-||25||-||-||Big 15, Volume 2|
|1958||"You Are My Destiny"
b/w "When I Stop Loving You (That'll Be The Day)" (from Big 15, Volume 2)
|7||-||14||6||-||-||Paul Anka Sings His Big 15|
|"Crazy Love" /||15||-||-||26||-||-|
|"Let the Bells Keep Ringing"||16||-||-||-||-||-||Big 15, Volume 2|
b/w "Verboten! (Forbidden)" (Non-album track)
|69||-||-||26||-||-||Paul Anka Sings His Big 15|
b/w "So It's Goodbye" (from My Heart Sings)
|80||-||-||-||-||15||Big 15 Volume 2|
|"The Teen Commandments"*
b/w "If You Learn To Pray" (by Don Costa's Orchestra and Chorus)
|"(All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings"
b/w "That's Love" (from Paul Anka Sings His Big 15)
|15||-||-||10||7||9||My Heart Sings|
|1959||"I Miss You So"
b/w "Late Last Night" (from Big 15, Volume 2)
b/w "Your Love" (from Big 15, Volume 2)
|1||-||6||3||8||2||Paul Anka Sings His Big 15|
|"Put Your Head On My Shoulder"
b/w "Don't Ever Leave Me"
|"It's Time To Cry"
b/w "Something Has Changed Me" (from Big 15, Volume 2)
|1960||"Puppy Love" /||2||-||-||33||-||3|
|"Adam and Eve"||90||-||-||-||-||21|
|"My Home Town" /||8||-||-||-||-||6||Big 15, Volume 2|
|"Hello Young Lovers" /||23||-||-||44||-||13||Paul Anka Swings For Young Lovers|
|"I Love You In the Same Old Way"||40||-||-||-||-||-||Big 15, Volume 2|
b/w "I'd Have To Share"
|"Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"
b/w "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
|104||-||-||-||-||-||It's Christmas Everywhere|
|"It's Christmas Everywhere"
b/w "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer"
|1961||"The Story of My Love" /||16||-||-||-||-||26||Big 15, Volume 2|
|"Don't Say You're Sorry"||108||-||-||-||-||-||Non-album tracks|
|"(You Can) Share Your Love"
b/w "I Talk To You (On The Telephone)" (Promo single only)
|"Tonight My Love, Tonight"
b/w "I'm Just A Fool Anyway" (Non-album track)
|13||-||-||-||-||8||Big 15, Volume 2|
|"Dance On Little Girl"
b/w "I Talk To You (On The Telephone)" (Non-album track)
|"Kissin' On the Phone" /||35||-||-||-||-||-||Big 15, Volume 3|
|"The Bells At My Wedding" /||104||-||-||-||-||26|
|1962||"All Of Me"
b/w "I'm Coming Home"
|"The Fools Hall of Fame"
b/w "Far From The Lights Of Town"
|"I'd Never Find Another You"
b/w "Uh Huh"
|"I'm Coming Home"
|"Love Me Warm and Tender"
b/w "I'd Like To Know" (Non-album track)
|"A Steel Guitar and a Glass of Wine"
b/w "I Never Knew Your Name" (Non-album track)
|"Every Night (Without You)"
b/w "There You Go"
|"Eso Beso (That Kiss)"
b/w "Give Me Back My Heart" (Non-album track)
|1963||"Love (Makes The World Go Round)"
b/w "Crying In The Wild" (Non-album track)
b/w "At Night" (Non-album track)
b/w "You've Got The Nerve To Call This Love"
|"Hurry Up and Tell Me"
b/w "Wondrous Are The Ways Of Love"
|"Did You Have a Happy Birthday?"
b/w "For No Good Reason At All"
|1964||"From Rocking Horse To Rocking Chair"
b/w "Cheer Up"
|"My Baby's Comin' Home"
b/w "No, No" (from 3 Great Guys)
|"In My Imaginaton"
b/w "It's Easy To Say"
|"Ogni Volta (Every Time)"
b/w "Cindy Go Home" (Non-album track)
|-||-||-||-||-||-||A Casa Nostra|
b/w "Behind My Smile"
|"The Lonliest Boy In The World"
b/w "Dream Me Happy"
|"Every Day A Heart Is Broken"
b/w "As If There Were No Tomorrow"
b/w "Oh Such A Stranger"
b/w "I Went To Your Wedding"
|"I Can't Help Loving You"
b/w "Can't Get Along Very Well Without Her"
|"Poor Old World"
b/w "I'd Rather Be A Stranger"
|1967||"Until It's Time For You To Go"
b/w "Would You Still Be My Baby"
|"A Woman Is A Sentimental Thing"
b/w "That's How Love Goes"
|1968||"Can't Get You Out Of My Mind"
b/w "When We Get There" (Non-album track)
|-||-||-||-||-||-||Life Goes On|
|1969||"Goodnight, My Love"
b/w "This Crazy World" (Non-album track)
|27||2||-||-||-||-||Goodnight My Love|
|"In the Still Of The Night"
b/w "Picking Up The Pieces"
b/w "Next Year" (from Goodnight My Love)
b/w "Can't Get You Out Of My Mind"
|86||13||-||-||-||-||Life Goes On|
b/w "Medley: Before It's Too Late/(Remember) This Land Is Your Land"
|1971||"Why Are You Leaning On Me Sir"
b/w "You're Some Kind Of Friend"
|"Do I Love You"
b/w "So Long City" (Non-album track)
|53||14||-||-||-||-||Paul Anka (Buddah album)|
b/w "Everything's Been Changed" (from Paul Anka—Buddah album)
b/w "Something Good Is Coming"
|1973||"While We're Still Young"
b/w "This Is Your Song"
b/w "You and Me Today" (from Jubilation)
|1974||"Let Me Get To Know You"
b/w "Flashback" (Non-album track)
|"(You're) Having My Baby"**
|"One Man Woman/One Woman Man"**
b/w "Let Me Get To Know You"
|1975||"I Don't Like To Sleep Alone"**
b/w "How Can Anything Be Beautiful-After You" (from Anka)
|"(I Believe) There's Nothing Stronger Than Our Love"**
b/w "Today I Became A Fool"
|"Times of Your Life"
b/w "Water Runs Deep" (from Feelings)
|7||1||-||-||-||-||Times Of Your Life|
|1976||"Anytime (I'll Be There)"
b/w "Something About You" (from Anka)
|"Make It Up To Me In Love"**
b/w "You" (by Odia Coates)
b/w "Closing Doors"
|1977||"My Best Friend's Wife"
b/w "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again
(Like I Fell In Love With You)" (from The Painter)
|80||41||-||-||-||-||The Music Man|
|"Everybody Ought To Be In Love"
|1978||"Brought Up In New York (Brought Down in L.A.)"
b/w "Love Me Lady"
|-||-||-||-||-||-||Listen To Your Heart|
|"This Is Love"
b/w "I'm By Myself Again"
|1979||"As Long As We Keep Believing"
|1981||"Think I'm In Love Again"
b/w "We Love Each Other"
|-||-||-||-||-||-||Both Sides Of Love|
|"I've Been Waiting For You All Of My Life"
b/w "Think I'm In Love Again"
|"Lady Lay Down"
b/w "You're Still A Part Of Me"
|1983||"Hold Me 'Til the Mornin' Comes"
b/w "This Is The First Time"
|40||2||-||-||-||-||Walk A Fine Line|
b/w "Walk A Fine Line"
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-  Archived March 31, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Paul Anka.|
- Official site
- Paul Anka at the Internet Movie Database
- Paul Anka at AllMovie
- Paul Anka at the Songwriters Hall of Fame