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PAUL ANKA

Paul Albert Anka,  (born July 30, 1941) is a Canadian singer of Lebanese ancestry, songwriter, and actor. Anka became famous in the late 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s with hit songs like “Diana” “, “Lonely Boy”, “Put your hand on my shoulder”.

Early life

Paul Anka was born in Ottawa, Ontario to Camelia (née Tannis) and Andrew Emile “Andy” Anka, Sr., who owned a restaurant called the Locanda. His parents were both Lebanese from the town of Kfarmishki, in Lebanon.”

Anka sang with the  St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church choir under the direction of Frederick Karam, with whom he studied music theory.

Career

Early success

Paul Anka recorded his first single, “I confess”, when he was 14. In 1957 he went to New York City  where he auditioned for Don Costa at ABC, singing what was widely believed to be a lovestruck verse he had written to a former babysitter. In an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross in 2005, he stated that it was to a girl at his church whom he hardly knew. The song “Diana” brought Anka stardom as it rocketed to #1 on the Canadian and U.S. music charts. “Diana” is one of the best selling singles ever by a Canadian recording artist. He followed up with four songs that made it into the Top 20 in 1958, including “It’s Time to Cry”, which hit #4 and “(All Of a Sudden) My Heart Sings”, which reached #15, making him (at 17) one of the biggest teen idols of the time. He toured Britain, then Australia. Anka also wrote “It doesn’t matter anymore” – a song written for Holly, which Holly recorded just before he died in 1959. Anka stated shortly afterward:

“It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” has a tragic irony about it now, but at least it will help look after Buddy Holly’s family. I’m giving my composer’s royalty to his widow – it’s the least I can do.

Paul Anka’s talent included the theme for The tonigt show  (reworked in 1962 from a song Anka wrote earlier called “Too sweet”. Anka composed Tom Jones’s biggest hit record, “She’s a lady”, and wrote the English lyrics to “May way”, Frank Sinatra’s signature song (originally the French song “Comme d’habitude”). In the 1960s Anka began acting in motion pictures as well as writing songs for them, most notably the theme for the hit film The longest day .

Comeback

His 1998 album A Body of Work was his first new U.S. studio release since Walk a Fine Line in 1983; vocalists and performers included Celine Dion, Kenny and Patty LaBelle. The album included a new version of “Hold Me ‘Til the Morning Comes”, once again performed with Peter Cetera. In 2005, his album of big-band arrangements of contemporary standards, Rock Swings, provided a mainstream comeback of sorts that saw him awarded a star on Canada’s walk of fame in Toronto.

Personal life

Anka was married to Anne de Zogheb, the daughter of a Lebanese diplomat, Charles de Zogheb, from February 16, 1963, until 2001.The couple met in 1962 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she was a fashion model on assignment and under contract to the Eileen Ford agency. Zogheb is of Lebanese descent. The couple married the following year. She quit modelling after their second child was born. They have five daughters: Amelia, Anthea, Alicia, Amanda, and Alexandra.

In 2008, Anka married his personal trainer, Anna Aberg, They divorced in 2010 and share custody of their son, Ethan.

In 1972, a street in Ottawa was named Paul Anka Drive. In 1981, the Ottawa City Council named August 26 as “Paul Anka Day” to celebrate his quarter-century in show business.

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