Paul Anka was born in Ottawa, Canada, on 30 July 1941, and started singing professionally at the age of 12 with two friends.
The trio were pretty successful in Canada and when they disbanded Paul convinced his parents to send him to Hollywood where he had an uncle with ‘Show-Biz’ connections.
He was eventually signed by Don Costa to Paramount Records and had his first hit in 1957 with Diana – a song about one Diana Ayoub, the babysitter for his younger brother and sister – which stayed at #1 for one week in the US and nine weeks in the UK.
Other hits followed, including Lonely Boy, Put Your Head On My Shoulder and Puppy Love (about his romance with Annette Funicello, five years his senior) and by the time he was 17 he was a millionaire.
At 18 he was the youngest performer ever to star at the famous Copacabana Club in New York, and by 21 he had written over 200 songs, notably, It Doesn’t Matter Anymore which was recorded by Buddy Holly in 1959.
The hits dried up in the early 60s, but – away from the spotlight – Anka continued to prosper. In addition to writing the theme tune to Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, he supplied Tom Jones with She’s A Lady and came up with English lyrics to an obscure French song.
Recorded by everyone from Elvis Presley to Sid Vicious, the valedictory My Way was adopted by Frank Sinatra as his signature tune,
In 1974 he wrote and sang (You’re) Having My Baby, which became his first US chart-topper since Lonely Boy 15 years earlier.
Both that song and its Top 10 follow-up, the adultery-themed One Man Woman, One Woman Man acknowledged that, like Anka himself, the singer’s original audience had grown up and were attempting to navigate the myriad complexities of adulthood.