Sunday, September 9, 2007

50 years ago: Paul Anka hit #1 with “Diana”

First posted 2/13/2021; updated 3/16/2021.


Paul Anka

Writer(s): Paul Anka (see lyrics here)

Released: July 2, 1957

First Charted: June 29, 1957

Peak: 11 US, 2 CB, 13 HR, 12 RB, 19 UK, 11 CN, 18 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 1.25 UK, 10.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 73.9 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Paul Anka may be best remembered for writing “My Way,” which was a hit for Frank Sinatra in 1969 and became what many consider to be his signature song. However, Anka had an extremely successful career of his own as a recording artist. From 1957 to 1975, he landed ten songs in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Three of them – “Diana,” “Lonely Boy,” and “You’re Having My Baby” went to #1. It was the first, however, which really launched Anka’s career.

As a teenager, Paul Anka had a crush on Diana Ayoub, who he occasionally saw at church and other functions. She also babysat for his younger siblings. SF She was several years older and not interested. As Anka said, “She was a little out of my league…She really didn’t want anything to do with me, which made it even worse.” SF

Distraught over being rejected, he wrote her a poem, which he later set to music. BR1 He won a trip to New York City in 1956 by collecting Campbell’s Soup wrappers and was so taken with the city that he went back later that summer with four songs he’d written, including “Diana.” He went to see Don Costa at ABC-Paraomount Records, who was so impressed he told Paul to have his parents come to New York immediately to sign a contract. BR1

The first single, “I Confess,” was released in 1956 but went nowhere. The follow-up, however, went to #1 when Anka was the ripe old age of 16. It went on to become an international hit, topping the charts in Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. At the time, it was the biggest-selling single in UK history. SF After he toured the world to support it and came home, Diana reached out to him, but he’d lost interest by then. BR1

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Paul Anka
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 25.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

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