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Who was/is Paul Anka ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more


If ever a singer was destined for success, it was Paul Anka. Cocky, pushy, and driven by both a burning ambition and an inexhaustible self belief, he also had the talent to back it up, in droves - for not only was Anka a precociously-gifted songwriter (indeed, he was the first singer/songwriter of the Rock 'n' Roll era), he was an emotive, dramatic singer and a powerful live performer. But it was never Anka's intention to remain 'just' a Teen Idol. From the very outset of his career he intended to make his way into mainstream showbiz; his target was always a sell-out season in a plush Las Vegas or New York niterie, hanging out with the Rat Pack, not a pink Cadillac and all the groupies he could handle. Moreover, Anka possessed a sharp business brain, which would stand him in good stead throughout the years, and he always saw the bigger picture.

 

Despite his brash manner he was both personable and likable, and he instinctively knew how to play the game, befriending and sending Christmas cards to all the various influential radio deejays, TV presenters, journalists, promoters and distributors, etc. He was also savvy enough to ensure that his fans were made to feel 'special'; initially, he handled all his own fan mail, personally replying to every letter he received and signing off "Dianacally Yours"! During the 1960s, by which time he'd long been established as a major International star, he continued to sell millions of records worldwide despite having become one of the early victims of the British Invasion back home in the US, and he has subsequently succeeded in reinventing himself across the decades - to the extent that he is very nearly as popular again now, well into the 21st Century, as at almost any time in his long, rich career.

 

PAUL ALBERT ANKA was born on July 30th 1941 in Ottawa, Ontario, the eldest child of Andrew and Camelia Anka, who were first generation immigrants of Syrian decent. His parents owned The Locanda, a restaurant and lounge on Laurier Avenue, a venue popular with the close-knit Lebanese community who made up the neighbourhood. It was not unusual for the entrepreneurial Anka Jr. - then barely into his teens - to offer visiting pop acts free meals at the restaurant and before long he'd befriended local groups such as The Diamonds, The Four Lads and The Rover Boys; an early indication that he saw his future in the entertainment realm. He'd previously set his sights on becoming either a journalist or a lawyer but, after just one shorthand class, quickly decided it wasn't for him opting instead for music classes where he learned drums, trumpet and piano. He also took piano lessons under the tutelage of Winnifred Rees. His nascent musical ambitions had already seen him enter and win local amateur talent contests (the first at age ten), usually by impersonating then-current hit-makers such as Frankie Laine or Johnnie Ray.

 

He attended Fisher Park High School and sang in the St Elias Syrian Orthodox Church choir under the direction of Frederick Karam, with whom he also studied musical theory. For his own amusement he began writing songs and also started to appear on local radio shows. Perhaps unusually - given the precarious nature of showbusiness - his parents were surprisingly supportive of his musical aspirations, in particular his mother, on whom he would try out his new compositions, ahead of playing them for anyone else. The under-age (and licence-less) Paul would then repay the kindness by 'borrowing' her Austin Healey without permission so that he could drive to talent shows in neighbouring counties, a fact that only came to light when he broke down on the Champlain Bridge after hammering it all the way home in first gear. Anka has since recalled, "My mother was my ally. She cleared the way when it was rough with my dad. He wanted me in a legitimate business. Show business then wasn't legitimate."

 

At thirteen Anka formed a vocal trio, The Bobbysoxers, with a couple of school pals who sang at local functions. Not only was he the lead singer, he doubled as the group's manager and organised all their bookings. It's true to say that he would perform anywhere he could, including on one occasion a topless nightclub where the owner kept the youngster confined to a dressing room between performances. Such was his determination to succeed that when Campbell's soup announced a competition to win a trip to New York for the person who could collect the most can wrappers, the single-minded youngster amassed a staggering number over three months - even scouring neighbourhood trash cans - and not surprisingly he won. Duly bowled over by the Big Apple, Anka made a promise to himself to return and make it as a singer.

 

It was to be the West Coast, however, which provided the initial boost to his professional recording career. In the summer of 1956, Anka spent the summer vacation staying with his Uncle Maurice and working at the Civic Playhouse in Los Angeles, where he parked cars and sold candy. His school summer project was to write a report on John Buchan's 1910 novel 'Prester John' which led to him writing a song about the African village in which the story is set. One of the soar-away hits that summer was Stranded In The Jungle by The Cadets, one of the Modern label's biggest acts. Wasting little time, Anka discovered the record company was located in nearby Culver City and decided to approach them with his song - a bold move for the teen considering Lester Bihari's label was a long established R&B outfit with a roster which included such big guns as John Lee Hooker, B.B. King and Elmore James. A&R chief Ernie Freeman was sufficiently impressed to record it a couple of weeks later, and thus the unlikely-sounding Blau-Wile-Deveest-Fontaine b/w I Confess saw release on Modern's RPM subsidiary, with backing vocals by - among others - The Cadets aka The Jacks, Plas Johnson on tenor sax and Freeman himself on piano.

 

Still not quite able to believe his luck, Anka returned to Canada convinced that stardom was but a heartbeat away but this was to prove premature. Despite the best efforts of barn-storming Buffalo radio station deejay George 'Hound Dog' Lorenz to break the disc it stiffed, reputedly selling around 3,000 copies, and Modern/RPM quietly dropped him from the label. Undeterred, Anka continued his campaign with appearances on national 'up-and-coming-talent' television shows including CBCTV's 'Pick The Stars And Cross-Canada Hit Parade.' As determined as ever, he kept at his songwriting but at his parents' behest agreed to take a journalism course, which led to a brief stint working at the 'Ottawa Citizen' where one of the Ankas' neighbours worked as an editor. Meanwhile, whenever Rock 'n' Roll revues came to town, he would be there, finagling his way into dressing rooms to meet the touring stars. On one occasion at the Ottawa Coliseum, he accosted Fats Domino, asking him to autograph the sleeve of his jacket before being told to beat it by tour manager and booking agent Irving Feld. Anka left but couldn't resist pushing his luck just that little bit further by insisting Feld write down his name so he could "hire him for one of his shows one day."

 

As fate would have it, a deejay in Toronto had forwarded the lead sheet to one of Anka's most recent compositions to ABC-Paramount Records in New York. Diana was an autobiographical account of his crush on an older woman. On the genesis of Diana Anka recalls: "I took a poem about this girl I had a crush on, and I started putting a melody to it. I started singing it at parties, at the choir, in stage productions, and saying to myself 'Dammit, I like this thing!'" It duly landed on the desk of Don Costa, who thought it looked interesting and wrote back requesting a demo. Dominick P. Costa was a seasoned industry man who'd cut his teeth as a guitarist in the CBS Radio Orchestra while still in his teens. In the 1940s he'd relocated from Boston, MA to New York and worked primarily as a session musician (notably with Bucky Pizzarelli on Vaughn Monroe's original version of Riders In The Sky) before concentrating on his own musical arrangements which he peddled with some success to various big bands. His reputation grew and through his connection with singing duo Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Costa was invited to join ABC-Paramount, the recording arm of the American Broadcasting-Paramount Theaters organisation. As the joint head of A&R with Sid Feller he secured hits for Johnny Nash, Lloyd Price and George Hamilton IV while maintaining a parallel recording career of his own, cutting discs under the unlikely pseudonym Guitar Muvva Hubbard.

 

When Anka got wind of this happy development he borrowed $100 from his father and returned to New York City with three other songs intent on securing a recording contract. So taken were Costa and his team with the talented go-getter, and in particular with the hit potential of Diana, that he arranged for Anka's parents to come to New York to sign contracts, not least because he'd never encountered a teenager who could write his own songs before. Anka: "Don Costa was responsible for my life evolving into the life I have today. He was a true genius, and my musical mentor." Within a week he was signed to the label and recorded four of his own songs at his first session in May 1957. He was still only fifteen years old. Recalling the session in 1974, he said: "On 'Diana' we used just five pieces - piano, bass, guitar, sax and drums - plus three voices. We recorded in the Capitol Studio on West Forty-Sixth Street, just across the Street from Variety. The song wasn't finished when I got in the studio… that's why I used those 'Uh-oh's that every rock group was soon doing. I just didn't have any words for those notes. And the 'Uh-oh' became the gimmick of the record."

 

Diana b/w Don't Gamble With Love was released in July 1957 and became an instant hit, an international No.1 (nine weeks in the UK alone) and even topped the US R&B charts, eventually selling a reputed 10 million copies worldwide. Although Anka's own account of the song's origins have varied over the years, the 'story' at the time was that he had written Diana as a paean to his younger siblings' babysitter Diana Ayoub, who was three years his senior. Although he had a mad crush on her, she was uninterested because of the (at that time) huge age difference. Devastated by her rejection he wrote a poem and sent it to her, which she also rejected so he set the ode to music by way of an angst-laden rock ballad, a genre which he was shortly to make his own. It certainly made for a powerful and engaging promo story, although in a 2005 interview with NPR's Terry Gross, the singer insisted this was all hogwash and that Diana was actually somebody else entirely, with whom he'd attended church, who he barely knew. Whatever the actual story, Diana became the first record by a solo Canadian singer to sell a million copies, and remains one of the best-selling singles ever by a Canadian artist.

Excerpt from the booklet BCD17249 - Paul Anka - Dianically Yours - Read more at: https://www.bear-family.com/anka-paul/ Copyright © Bear Family Records

 



More information about Paul Anka on de.Wikipedia.org
 
 
   
 
Paul Anka: Zwei Mädchen aus Germany
Art-Nr.: BCD15613
 

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1-CD with 12-page booklet, 25 tracks. Playing time approx. 62 mns. 26 German recordings (1961 - 1967, incl. versions of Summer's Gone and Love Me Warm And Tender ). Recorded in Berlin, Cologne and in the USofA, there are further eight tracks that were unreleased...

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Paul Anka: Dianacally Yours
Art-Nr.: BCD17247
 

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1-CD Digipak (4-plated) with 48-page booklet, 36 tracks, total playing time approx. 88 minutes. -- In a recording career which began in 1956 and continues to this day, Canadian-born singer-songwriter Paul Anka has registered 54 Top 100 chart entries in the US alone...

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Paul Anka: Here's Paul Anka (CD)
Art-Nr.: CD905910
 

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(2009/Disky) 20 tracks - slipcase packaging.

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Paul Anka: I Grandi Successi Originali (2-CD)
Art-Nr.: CDBMG96912
 

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(2000/BMG Italy) 24 Tracks - RCA Victor 1962-1968 - Anka sings in Italian language!

Instead of:$35.34 * $28.27 *

Paul Anka: Live In Las Vegas (CD)
Art-Nr.: CD904136
 

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(2006/Disky) 14 tracks (40:35) amazing concert from Las Vegas ca.2000?. EU Pressing (previously released as US Varese#66328/2003)

Instead of:$15.28 * $12.22 *

Paul Anka: Songs For Christmas
Art-Nr.: CDCHL25283
 

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​(2011/IMC) 13 Tracks

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Paul Anka: Best Of Paul Anka (LP)
Art-Nr.: RNLP70220
 

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(1986/RHINO) 14 tracks

$17.64 *

Paul Anka: Songs Of December
Art-Nr.: CD1622902
 

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(2012/UNIVERSAL) 11 tracks (49:13) produced by Paul Anka. Season' Greetings Special Price while stock last!

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Paul Anka: Live At AVO Session Basel (DVD)
Art-Nr.: DVD220047
 

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(2013/AVO) 85 Min., color, HD, PAL, English, Region Code Free, NTSC - Live footage from Swiss TV SRF, November 5, 2011!

Instead of:$23.54 * $11.77 *

Paul Anka: Singing & Swinging (2-CD)
Art-Nr.: CDJAS572
 

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(2010/JASMINE) 49 tracks (2010/JASMINE) 49 tracks

Instead of:$20.00 * $16.00 *

Paul Anka: Collections
Art-Nr.: CD10555
 

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(2007/SONY BMG) 12 tracks (1962-72)

Instead of:$5.90 * $4.72 *

Paul Anka: Paul Anka...plus
Art-Nr.: CD3930826
 

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(2009/MAGIC) 20 tracks 1957/58 - 24bit mastering - papersleeve

Instead of:$15.22 * $12.18 *

Paul Anka: You, The Night And The Music (2-CD)
Art-Nr.: CDJAS250
 

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​(2013/Jasmine) 59 tracks 1960-62

Instead of:$20.00 * $16.00 *

NEW
Paul Anka: Forever - 32 Hits And The Story Of Paul Anka (2-LP)
Art-Nr.: LPNL89209
 

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(1980/RCA) 32 tracks, Columbia and RCA recordings

$23.54 *

Paul Anka: The Real... (3-CD)
Art-Nr.: CDSNY97222
 

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(2014/SONY) 48 tracks

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Paul Anka: Sings His Big 10 Vol.2 (CD)
Art-Nr.: CDD277558
 

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​(1992/Curb) 10 tracks

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Paul Anka: Music Ages EP Series (CD)
Art-Nr.: CD34100
 

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(2007/MUSIC AGES/SPAIN) 16 tracks - digipac

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Paul Anka: Very Best
Art-Nr.: CDRCA67998
 

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(2000/RCA) 22 tracks

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Paul Anka: Sings His Big 10 Vol.1 (CD)
Art-Nr.: CDD277557
 

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​(1992/Curb) 10 tracks

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Paul Anka: Rock Swings - Live At Montreaux (0)
Art-Nr.: DVD89000
 

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(2005/UNIVERSAL) PAL, Dolby 5.1 Surround & 2.0 Stereo, Farbe/Color, recorded at Montreaux Jazz Festival July 8,2005, 18 tracks (Live) plus bonus feature (60 mins.) / überragendes Konzert mit Hammer-Sound plus qualitativ ebenso hochwertigem Bonus Material (u.a. eine...

Instead of:$25.84 * $12.92 *

Paul Anka: My Heart Sings...plus
Art-Nr.: CD3930864
 

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(2010/MAGIC) 24 tracks 1958/89 96K/24bit mastering - papersleeve

Instead of:$15.22 * $12.18 *

Paul Anka: Anka, Paul Duets (2013) US
Art-Nr.: CDSNY548489
 

Currently not available

(2013/SONY) 14 titres, les partenaires du duo feat comme Michael Jackson, PattiLaBelle et Frank Sinatra!

$17.64 *

Paul Anka: Forever (2-LP) Gatefold - Klappcover
Art-Nr.: NL89209
 

Currently not available

(1980/RCA EU) 32 tracks 1961-75 / cut-out(1cm)

$25.37 *

   
 
 
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