National Treasure #151: Paul Anka

I’m a little conflicted here. Wiki lists Paul Anka’s musical genres as pop, soft rock, jazz, and doo-wop. With apologies to Russell Peter’s iconic Indian guy looking at the numeric system: None of those are music I want to listen to.

At least, I was pretty sure: I had to look up doo-wop to be sure.

Wiki says this: “Doo-wop features vocal group harmony, nonsense syllables, a simple beat, sometimes little or no instrumentation, and simple music and lyrics.”
Oh yeah?
Isabel says this: “Doo-wop takes this masterpiece by Bill Broonzy and turns it into this smoothness by The Five Keys.”
Nuff said.

So I’m not crazy about Paul Anka’s music. I’m also supposed to be done with this national treasures project, but I kinda miss it. Herewith, then, another one. After that, who knows?

Anka became famous during 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”. – Wikipedia

This, I knew. After all, I was around while it was happening. But courtesy of Wikipedia, here are things I didn’t know about Paul Anka.

Paul Anka was born in Ottawa to Lebanese immigrants.

His writing credits include the theme for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Tom Jones’s “She’s a Lady”, and the English lyrics for Frank Sinatra’s signature song, “My Way” (which comes from the French song, “Comme d’habitude,” something else I didn’t know).

Anka was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2005.

He had five daughters by his first wife, Anne, and all five have names starting with “A.” One of them is married to Jason Bateman (who can be hysterically funny, not that that’s something I learned from Wikipedia).

He has had film and TV roles. And even though he’s 75 (closing hard on 76: his birthday is July 30), there’s a reason I used the present perfect progressive there (and yes, I had to look that up, too). May I have the drum roll, please . . .

His career spans 60 years: 1957 to the present. Don’t count him out yet.

So here’s to Paul Anka. I’m not crazy about his genres, but he’s got some pipes.


Put Your Head on My Shoulder

Paul Anka Medley

Thanks to Jim Taylor for suggesting Paul Anka.


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19 Responses to National Treasure #151: Paul Anka

  1. How about Isabel Gibson for #152 ??
    Write about yourself as if you were one of your Treasures… 😀

  2. Tom Watson says:

    Hmmmm. Gotta like “Put Your Head on My Shoulder.”

    If you now add pop, along with jazz which you mentioned a week ago, to your list of unlikeables, what is your favorite genre?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – I’m pretty sure I do not gotta. What do I like? Some of each of these: bluegrass, old country (new country being pop :-)), Dixieland, rock (as opposed to soft rock), rhythm and blues, gospel, soul. High rhythm and energy, low smooth.

  3. Jim Taylor says:

    Paul Anka is inevitably tied up with my memories of being a teenager. In those days, of course, he was only a few years younger than I was. Now he’s ageless.
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – Yes, those teenage associations count for a lot. And excuse a lot. I listen to the Beatles’ early music now and cringe at a lot of it, but it seemed fine at the time. And where would we be without them (or Anka, I suppose) as a stage we passed through?

      • The Beatles: I was too old to be screaming at them, but I hear any song of theirs now and I am 50 years younger. And stoned.

        I only cringe at their movies, which were very silly indeed.
        Suspect their kind of optimism (and hope) is now over. I doubt any youth today feels any optimism like they did. Can’t imagine it.

        • Isabel Gibson says:

          Barbara – Of course, at the time they didn’t look innocent or optimistic, did they? Maybe today’s youth (and their music) will look similarly, well, young, in another 50 years.

  4. John Whitman says:

    And of course you know there is a Paul Anka Drive not too far from your current home.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – I did know that, but only because we once looked at a condo there. We don’t celebrate our celebrations very well, if you see what I mean.

  5. Tom Watson says:

    I didn’t mean you gotta like Paul Anka’s “Put Your Head on My Shoulder.” I meant “I gotta.” Sorry for not being clear.

    Glad to see you like Dixieland.


    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – Whew, that’s OK, then. It got me to wondering else I gotta like. 🙂 Actually, the other statement was OK too – I took it as a joke along the lines of, “How can anyone not like . . .!!!???” Maybe we should have a day a month where we wear badges announcing our taste in music. Think of the conversations it would spark with strangers.

  6. Ian Hepher says:

    A fair choice, Isabel, though I don’t like his music either.

    But do keep going past 150, as it suits you. It’s only European immigrants that think the country is 150 years old, after all. There is lots of room…and a great deal to celebrate.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Ian – Fair point. In one sense we’re a lot older than 150, and in another a fair bit younger. Newfoundland didn’t join until, what, 1949?

  7. Tom Watson says:

    Yes, Newfoundland joined in 1949. A close joining I might add. Some folks wanted to stay with Home Rule with Britain, some wanted to join the U.S because the bulk of their trade was with New York and Boston, but Joseph R. Smallwood convinced a sufficient majority to join “the rest of Canada.”

    Did you know that the dairy industry kept Newfoundland from joining for about two years? The reason? They used margarine on the island and they’d be bringing it to the mainland. Finally they made a deal: Margarine couldn’t be colored, so that it didn’t look like butter. Then, later, there were those little packets of coloring that had to be mixed in to give it a yellow hue. Finally, what we have had for a lot of years now.


  8. Isabel Gibson says:

    Tom – I didn’t know that about the dairy industry’s influence. Today they keep supply management going. But I do remember those packets of margarine. Our neighbours bought margarine and we kids fought for the right to be the one to squish the yellow button through the package of white glop to make it look (more like) butter. I think we just bought butter . . .

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