Posted by Hip Hop 50's Shop on 5/28/2012
Paul Albert Anka was born in Ottawa, Canada on July 30, 1941 to parents of Lebanese heritage, Andy and Cameila Anka. His parents owned a restaurant called the Locanda. As a child, Anka sang with the St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church. He learned to play the piano from Winnifred Rees.
In the 1950s, when he was still very young, Anka began recording. At age 14, he released his first single, “I Confess.” He quickly reached stardom with songs such as “Put Your Head on my Shoulder,” “Diana,” and “Lonely Boy.” Soon he found himself living as a teen idol, with fans rushing him wherever he went to perform.
But Anka was not limited to his singing talents. As a music writer, he made just as big a name for himself as with the singing. He co-wrote “I Never Heard,” with Michael Jackson, which Jackson recorded as “This Is It.” He wrote Johnny Carson’s theme music for The Tonight Show. And he wrote Tom Jones’ “She’s a Lady.”
Having toured Austraila with Buddy Holly, Anka wrote a song for Holly called “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.” Holly ended up recording it not long before he passed away in 1959. Anka donated the royalties from the song to Holly’s widow.
Annette Funicello, another well-known singer and actress of the 50s, sang Anka’s “Toot Sweet” as “It’s Really Love,” in the same year. Later, Anka began working in film and made a cameo appearance in “The Longest Day,” for which he wrote the soundtrack. Making regular trips back to Canada to sing for sold-out concerts, the musician never forgets his roots, although he did become a naturalized citizen of the U.S. Anka continues to sing and perform, maintaining popularity in part by teaming up with musicians like Celine Dion in duets and special performances.