Diana

Album: Paul Anka (1957)
Charted: 1 1
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  • Paul Anka turned a crush on an older girl into his breakthrough hit. He was just 15 years old when he wrote "Diana" about his unrequited love for Diana Ayoub, who was five years older. "She was a little out of my league," Anka said. "She really didn't want anything to do with me, which made it even worse."

    Ayoub and Anka didn't cross paths all that often; he would see her at church and some other functions, and she would sometimes babysit his younger brother and sister.

    The crush didn't go anywhere, but the song did. It hit #1 in the US and UK, launching his career. Anka and his family moved from Ottawa, Canada to New Jersey, where they set up a publishing and management operation to support his career. Anka became one of the biggest hitmakers of the pre-Beatles rock era, and enjoyed a career revival in the '70s with another string of hits, including the #1 "(You're) Having My Baby."
  • This was a #1 hit in America for one week, but in the UK it stayed on top for a remarkable nine weeks. In both territories, the song reached the top spot in September 1957. It was first released in America; when a European record distributor heard the song in a New York record store, he arranged for the song to be issued on that continent, where it proved immensely popular.

    Regarding the song's overseas success, Anka explained, "My record has a Semitic sound to it, like a chant. It gives my records a European feel."
  • Anka was the first teenager to have a million-seller in the UK - he was 16 when it charted. At the time, it was the biggest-selling single in the UK history.
  • This was not Anka's first single. In the summer of 1956 he visited his uncle in Los Angeles, where he recorded a song called "I Confess." Released that year on RPM records, it went nowhere. The following year he made a connection at ABC-Paramount Records in New York City, where he performed "Diana" at an audition for Don Costa, earning him a deal with the label. He recorded the song in May, and it started climbing the charts that summer - when school started back up in September, Anka didn't return, as he was busy touring to support it.
  • Anka was one of the few teenagers writing and recording songs about teenage love in the '50s. Most hits of the era were written by professional songwriters who were much older.
  • In 1963, Anka recorded a sequel called "Remember Diana," where she has left him and broken his heart. That one reached #39 in the US.
  • Anka never reconnected with Diana Ayoub, the subject of the song. In 2002, the Ottawa Globe And Mail reported that she had two children, was divorced, and was managing a dress shop in the city.
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Comments: 6

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 7, 1957, Paul Anka made his U.S.A. television debut when he performed "Diana" on the Dick Clark ABC-TV weekday-afternoon program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #13 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, a little under three weeks later it would peak at #1{for 1 week} on Billboard's Best Selling in Stores chart, and it spent over a half-year on the Top 100 {29 weeks}...
    And on August 18th it peaked at #2 {for 5 weeks} on the Top 100 chart, for the five weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for those five weeks was "Tammy" by Debbie Reynolds...
    One month & one day later on September 8th he would performed "Diana" on the CBS-TV variety program 'The Ed Sullivan Show"...
    Six years later in 1963 he would release "Remember Diana", it reached #39 on May 19th, 1963...
    Between 1957 and 1983 he had fifty-two Top 100 records; ten made Top 10 with three* reaching #1, besides "Diana", there was "Lonely Boy" for 4 weeks in 1959, and "(Your) Having My Baby" for 3 weeks in 1974...
    Paul Albert Anka celebrated his 76th birthday eight days ago on July 30th, 2017...
    *He just missed having two more #1 records when both "Put Your Head On My Shoulder" {1959} and "Puppy Love" {1960} peaked at #2.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 30th 1958, Paul Anka appeared in concert at Sydney Stadium in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...
    It was the beginning of a six date tour of Australia, and also on the tour were Jerry Lee Lewis, Jodie Sands, the Crickets, and Australian rocker Johnny O'Keefe...
    At the time Paul's "Diane" was in its fifth of eight weeks at #1 on the Australian Kent Music Report chart...
    The Crickets' "That'll Be the Day" was at #12 and Jerry Lee's "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" was at #13.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 8th 1957, Paul Anka performed "Diana" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    At the time the song was at #3 on Billboard's Best Sellers chart, and two weeks earlier it was at #1...
    On the same 'Sullivan' show Jimmie Rodgers performed "Honeycomb", and on September 22nd, 1957 it reached #1 on the Best Sellers chart {four days before "Honeycomb" reached #1, Mr. Rodgers celebrated his 24th birthday}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyIn 1958 the trio of Paul Anka, George Hamilton IV, & Johnny Nash released a record titled "The Teen Commandments"; it peaked at #28 and stayed in the Top 100 for eight weeks!!! {Hamilton's biggest song was 'A Rose and A Baby Ruth', which peaked at #6 in 1956; and Nash's biggest was 'I Can See Clearly Now', which stayed at #1 for four weeks in 1972}
  • John from Nashville, TnPaul Anka has something in common with 1980s star Debbie Gibson: they're two teen idols who wrote their own hits during their heyday.
  • Scott from Ottawa, CanadaIn 1999, Paul Anka was invited to a re- union at his old high school, Fisher Park High School in Ottawa , Canada. The story broke and Diana (who still lives in Ottawa) was reported to have said...'I can't wait to see Paul again'..When Anka read that she was intending on meeting him, he did not show for the re- union and was heard to exclaim..'if she's going to be there, I'm not !'The story goes that she has been trying to get money out of him for the past 48 years.
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