Inspire. Inform. Involve.  

Paul Anka Biography,Career,Songs and Personal Life

About Paul Anka

Paul Albert Anka OC is a Canadian-American singer, songwriter, and actor born July 30, 1941 . Anka became famous during 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. Anka was born in Ottawa, Ontario, to Camelia and Andrew Emile “Andy” Anka, Sr., who owned a restaurant called the Locanda. His parents were both Antiochian Orthodox Christians.Anka’s father was Syrian-American from ’Uyūn al-Wādī, Syria from the Na’Nou’ family and his mother was 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.

By the age of 13, he had his own vocal group, the Bobbysoxers which performed at every amateur night they could get to in his mother’s car, unbeknownst to her of course. Soon after, he won a trip to New York by winning a Campbell’s soup contest for IGA Food Stores that required him to spend three months collecting soup can labels. It was there his dream was solidified, he was going to make it as a singer composer; there was not a doubt in his young tenacious mind.
In 1956, he convinced his parents to let him travel to Los Angeles, where he called every record company in the phone book looking for an audition. A meeting with Modern Records led to the release of Anka’s first single, “Blau-Wile Deverest Fontaine.” It was not a hit, but Anka kept plugging away, going so far to sneak into Fats Domino’s dressing room to meet the man and his manager in Ottawa. When Anka returned New York in 1957, he scored a meeting with Don Costa, the A&R man for ABC-Paramount Records. He played him a batch of songs that included “Diana” – Costa was duly enthusiastic about the potential of the young singer and songwriter. The rapid and enormous success of “Diana”- his first number one hit – made him a star.

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 No. 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. He signed with Buddah Records, putting out two albums in the early 1970s, a self-titled and Jubilation . The former, first released in 1971, bore the track “She’s A Lady”, a song he wrote that would become a signature hit for Welsh singer Tom Jones that same year. However, Anka failed to make a chart success of his own version.

Frustrated by the fact that after more than ten years he never got a top 25 hit record, Anka switched labels again, which marked a turning point in his career. This time he signed with United Artists and in 1974 teamed up with Odia Coates to record the No. 1 hit, “(You’re) Having My Baby”, exposing Anka to a new generation of fans and proved his staying power among his original fan base that was now maturing. Anka also wrote five songs which were included on an album by Don Goodman.

Anka and Coates would record two more duets that made it into the Top 10, “One Man Woman/One Woman Man” (No. 7) and “I Don’t Like to Sleep Alone” (No. 8), and the No. 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 No. 7 in the US pop chart in 1976. The follow-up was another hit that Anka wrote for Sinatra, “Anytime (I’ll Be There)”, peaking at No. 33. Anka’s last Top 40 hit in the US was in the summer of 1983: “Hold Me ‘Til The Mornin’ Comes”, which included backing vocals from then-Chicago frontman Peter Cetera; it hit No. 2 on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Anka’s two most recent albums – Rock Swings and now Classic Songs, My Way – ingeniously featured songs originally created by some of the biggest rock performers of the day – as well as other established artists across several genres. The twist: Paul Anka did the songs ‘his way.’ His goal: “taking great songs and rework them so they’re natural for me.” With the help of his five daughters, Anka spent months researching music from the ‘80s and ‘90s, trying to find the songs that would work in the radical new context he proposed. The songs that made the cut included Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life,” Lionel Richie’s “Hello” and Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven.” Even more dramatic were his transformations of “Wonderwall” by Oasis, “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Paul Anka Acting career

Anka’s first acting role in a major film was in a cameo as an army private in The Longest Day in the year 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 in 1961, in which he played a peeping tom. He later played an Elvis-hating casino pit manager in 3000 Miles To Graceland in 2001 and a yacht broker in Captain Ron in 1992. He guest-starred as a murder suspect in one of the Perry Mason Made-for-TV movies, The Case of the Maligned Mobster in 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.

Paul Anka Photo

Paul Anka Photo

Paul Anka Personal life

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 modeling 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 Paul has full custody of their son, Ethan. Anna was featured in the Swedish TV3 show Svenska Hollywoodfruar (Swedish Hollywood wives). In October 2016 Anka married Lisa Pemberton, 36, in Beverly Hills, California.In 1972, a street in Ottawa was named Paul Anka Drive. In the year 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.

Paul Anka Songs

  1. Let It Snow
  2. Christmas Song
  3. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
  4. Winter Wonderland
  5. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
  6. White Christmas
  7. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  8. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”
  9. Blue Christmas
  10. Silver Bells
  11. Silent Night/A Cradle in Bethlehem
  12. Eye of the Tiger” (original version by Survivor)
  13. Jump (original version by Van Halen)
  14. Everybody Hurts (original version by R.E.M.)
  15. Wonderwall (original version by Oasis)
  16. Black Hole Sun (original version by Soundgarden)
  17. It’s My Life (original version by Bon Jovi)
  18. It’s a Sin (original version by Pet Shop Boys)
  19. True (original version by Spandau Ballet)
  20. Smells Like Teen Spirit” (original version by Nirvana)
  21. Hello (original version by Lionel Richie)
  22. Eyes Without a Face” (original version by Billy Idol)
  23. Lovecats (original version by The Cure)
  24. The Way You Make Me Feel” (original version by Michael Jackson)
  25. Tears in Heaven” (original version by Eric Clapton)

Paul Anka Video