Beginning his career by entering amateur contests and sneaking into clubs, Paul Anka has gone on to become one of the most prolific, successful songwriters in history. Raised in Ottawa, Paul Anka developed a talent for songwriting through school courses in English and Journalism. Paul originally thought he'd pursue journalism as a career even though he had written songs from a very early age. When he was thrown out of a shorthand class and opted to take music instead, the rest, as they say is history.
Paul entered and subsequently won a contest collecting soup labels. The grand prize of a trip to New York would alter his life forever. Sleeping in a hotel bathtub of some fellow musicians, with his songs in hand, he obtained a meeting with Don Costa, an A & R man for ABC Paramount. He played his songs and instantly impressed the seasoned Costa. Shortly thereafter, due to Paul's young age, his parents were flown down and contracts were signed. In 1957, at the age of 16, Paul made his network debut on American Bandstand singing his song, Diana. Less than four weeks after that appearance, Diana would be the Number 1 song on Billboard's charts.
Before he turned 18, he had five Top-20 hits and quickly became a household name. By the late 50's, Paul Anka had established himself as a prolific and successful singer/songwriter, with numerous appearances on American Bandstand, the Perry Como Show and the Ed Sullivan Show. He had toured the United States, Europe, and Australia with such notables as Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers and Jerry Lee Lewis.
In the wake of the British Invasion, the music of Paul Anka remained timely, ushering in such classics as A Steel Guitar And A Glass Of Wine and Love Me Warm And Tender.
With well over 900 songs to his credit, his songs have been performed by such greats as Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Tom Jones, Buddy Holly, Linda Ronstadt, The Sex Pistols, Nina Simone, Gypsy Kings, and Robbie Williams - to name a few. In addition, his compositions for others helped catapult their respective careers including, It Doesn't Matter Anymore for Buddy Holly, She's a Lady for Tom Jones, Puppy Love for Donny Osmond, and of course the unparalleled My Way which not only became a signature song for Frank Sinatra, but a song that is one of the most recognized and performed songs in the world. Anka has successfully collaborated with songwriters David Foster, Carol Bayer Sager, Richard Marx, Michael McDonald, Michael Jackson, and many others.
Extending his talents into the realm of TV and film, Paul Anka's contribution to television is the most recognized theme song in history. When Johnny Carson made his debut as host of The Tonight Show in 1962, the Anka-written theme was there, too. Since the debut, the theme song has been performed over 1,400,000 times. Many memorable film, television programs, and ad campaigns bear the hallmark of Anka's unmistakable musical signature. In addition to writing the theme music for The Longest Day, for which Mr. Anka was nominated for an Academy Award, Mr. Anka penned the theme music and title song for the motion picture No Way Out starring Kevin Costner. His theme song for Louis Malle's Atlantic City took top honors at the Venice Film Festival. In 2002 a new Japanese television series, titled Golden Bowl, was created around his music for the second largest TV market in the world, featuring eight Paul Anka songs in every episode, this being the first time this has ever been done on a TV show in Japan. His songs have also been used in some of the biggest commercial campaigns for companies such as Ebay, AXA, Pet Smart, and Mercedes Benz.
A man of many talents, Paul Anka has done his fair share of acting in front of the camera, appearing in 3000 Miles to Graceland starring Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell, and Christian Slater, Mad Dog Time with Richard Dreyfuss, and Captain Ron with Kurt Russell and Martin Short. Not only did he appear in the film, The Longest Day but he also composed the film's main theme. For more than twenty-five years, the theme song was used as the Regimental March by the Canadian Airborne Regiment.
After forty-five years, Paul shows no signs of slowing down. He continues to tour ten months out of the year, proving still to be a veritable force of nature with a boundless commitment to satisfying his dedicated international following. He is one of the few select artists in history to have a record in Billboard's Top 50 charts for five consecutive decades. With the May 31st release of his most recent album, Rock Swings, he may be going for a sixth consecutive decade of Top 50 hits.
This past year marked a milestone when Anka performed in his native Ottawa for the first time in more than 20 years. There is little doubt that Paul "has lived a life that's full" with a successful career, five wonderful daughters and three grandchildren.