A teen idol of the 1950s who virtually invented the singer/songwriter/heartthrob combination that still tops pop music today, Paul Anka rocketed to fame with a slew of hits-from "Diana" to "Put Your Head on my Shoulder"-that earned him a place touring with the major stars of his era, including Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Holly. He wrote Holly's last hit, and just missed joining the rocker on his final, fatal plane flight. Anka also stepped in front of the camera in the teen beach-party movie era, scoring the movies and romancing their starlets, including Annette Funicello.
When the British invasion made his fans swoon for a new style of music-and musician--Anka made sure he wasn't conquered. A rapier-canny businessman and image-builder who took his career into his own hands-just as he had from the very beginning, swiping his mother's car at fourteen to drive himself, underage, to his first gigs in Quebec-Anka toured the world until he could return home in triumph. A charter member of the Rat Pack, he wrote the theme music for The Tonight Show as well as his friend Frank Sinatra's anthem "My Way". By the 1970s, a multi-decade string of pop chart-toppers, including "Puppy Love" and "(You're) Having My Baby", cemented his status as an icon.
My Way is bursting with rich, rollicking stories of the business and the people in Anka's life: Elizabeth Taylor, Dodi Fayed, Tom Jones, Michael Jackson, Adnan Khashoggi, Little Richard, Brooke Shields, Johnny Roselli, Sammy Davis, Jr., Brigitte Bardot, Barnum & Bailey Circus acrobats, and many more. Anka is forthcoming, funny and smart as a whip about the business he's been in for almost six decades. My Way moves from New York to Vegas, from the casino stage to backstages all over the world. It's the most entertaining autobiography of the year.
From teen idol to Vegas regular, the nimble and prolific Canadian-born songwriter and performer unfurls a charmed tale of early fame and earnest survival. With a knack for performing and impersonating popular singers of the era like Frankie Laine and Perry Como, as a young teen, Anka, the son of close-knit, middle-class Lebanese restaurant owners, was determined to strike out of his provincial upbringing in Ottawa and hit it big, playing in doo-wop groups and winning local contests. By sheer chutzpah he talked his way to his first record contract at age 15, with ABC-Paramount Records in New York, by dazzling producer Don Costa with his song "Diana," among others, and by September 1957, when the song went to #1, Anka was appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show, American Bandstand, and embarking on bus tours with the biggest names in rock 'n' roll: Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry. The British invasion radically altered the scene, eclipsing many of the crooners' careers, like that of Bobby Darin, but Anka was a versatile songsmith, with canny agent Irvin Feld behind him, riding out the musical turbulence by playing in Vegas clubs and touring the world, and writing a string of steady hits for himself and others (e.g., "You're Having My Baby," "My Way" for Frank Sinatra, the score for the movie The Longest Day, even the theme song for Johnny Carson's Tonight Show). Anka recalls these complex egos of various performers rather poignantly, and he vividly depicts the corruption and Mafia shenanigans at the Copa and others spots in the late '50s and early '60s. Tenacious, tickled with success, Anka splashes plenty of juice and little restraint.
Love reading about The Rat Pack and Vegas during that era. Paul's music brings back so many memories for me. I will recommend to friends and family.
This was a great read. I enjoyed every page. I was too young for the Rat Back, but loved Sammy and Dean. Thanks for writing it. I love your honesty in telling your story. Hope to see you in concert if you ever come to Denver, Colorado. Linda Farrell
The book was quite repetitive. It was more of a tribute to Frank Sinatra. Every chapter reiterated Mr. Anka's infatuation with Sinatra. Very disappointed.