Paul Anka – Smells Like Teen Spirit
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Paul Albert Anka, OC (born July 30, 1941) is a Canadian-American singer, songwriter, and actor. Anka became famous in the late 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s with hit songs like “Diana”, “Lonely Boy”, “Put Your Head on My Shoulder”, and “(You’re) Having My Baby”.
He wrote such well-known music as the theme for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and one of Tom Jones’s biggest hits, “She’s a Lady”, as well as the English lyrics for Frank Sinatra’s signature song, “My Way”, which has been covered by many including Elvis Presley. He was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2005.
In 1983, he co-wrote the song “I Never Heard” with Michael Jackson. It was retitled and released in 2009 under the name “This Is It”.
An additional song that Jackson co-wrote with Anka from this 1983 session, “Love Never Felt So Good”, was since discovered and was released on Jackson’s posthumous album Xscape in 2014. The song was also released by Johnny Mathis in 1984. Anka became a naturalized US citizen in 1990.
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 Antiochian Orthodox Christians.Anka’s father (Andy) and his mother (Camelia) were Canadian-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. He studied piano with Winnifred Rees. He attended Fisher Park High School, where he was part of a vocal trio called the Bobby Soxers.
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.
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