Paul Anka

July 30, 1941
  • Songs
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Anka was born and raised in Ottawa. His grandfather came to America from Damascus, Syria, and his mother was an immigrant from Lebanon.
  • Much of his success came in the late '50s when rock and roll was breaking loose. The audience for this music was teenagers, and Anka was one of the few artists writing his own songs who actually fit this demographic. Chuck Berry was very good at writing songs about the teenage experience, but he was in his 30s.
  • He wrote Frank Sinatra's signature song "My Way" in 1968. At the time, Anka was struggling to sell records as an artist, so he was pitching the best songs he wrote to other singers. Tom Jones had a hit in 1971 with Anka's song "She's A Lady."
  • It wasn't until Alanis Morissette that another artist from Ottawa broke big in America.
  • His father Andy owned a restaurant, but after Paul charted with "Diana" in 1957, Andy closed the restaurant and moved to the family to New Jersey to support Paul. Andy helped Paul establish and operate his own music publishing company, which was very shrewd, as it gave him control of his songs.
  • Anka wrote "It Doesn't Matter Anymore," which Buddy Holly recorded in his last session. The song became a hit after his death; Anka gave his royalties to Holly's wife.
  • He always considered himself more of a songwriter than a singer. He became a performer because there was no way he could get anyone to record his songs.
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