Editor's note: This story is featured in the Oct. 19 print edition of CityBeat.
A legendary songwriter and one of the most recognizable voices of the early pop music era, Paul Anka makes a stop in Cincinnati.
Anka’s songs topped the charts at their release and make up a good portion of oldies radio playlists to this day. With hits like “Diana,” “Lonely Boy,” “Puppy Love,” “Put Your Head On My Shoulder” and a handful of other chart-topping releases, he’s one of the original stars and teen idols of the early years of pop music.
He may be just as well known as a songwriter, writing a handful of what would become significant songs for other artists. Anka toured England and Australia with rock and roll great Buddy Holly in 1959 and wrote a song for him, which became one of Holly’s last recordings, “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.” Anka donated his songwriting royalties to Holly’s widow.
In 1967, he wrote the English lyrics to a reworked French song that became Frank Sinatra’s signature song, “My Way.” Tom Jones recorded a version of Anka’s “She’s a Lady” in 1971, becoming Jones’ biggest hit. He also wrote the original The Tonight Show theme song and had a chart resurgence in the ‘70s with the No. 1 “(You’re) Having My Baby” and a string of other hits.
Anka and his songs both have made plenty of appearances in TV and movies over the years. He appeared as himself on shows like The Simpsons, That ‘70s Show and Gilmore Girls as well as in a handful of movies early in his career along with hundreds of soundtracks. He’s a significant part of popular culture and a quintessential part of the sound of the golden age of pop music.
Paul Anka performs at the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati at 8 p.m. Oct. 29. There are no known COVID-19 protocols. Info: hardrockcasinocincinnati.com.