Synopses & Reviews
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 Hollys 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 wasnt 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 mothers 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 Sinatras anthem “My Way”. By the 1970s, a multi-decade string of pop chart-toppers, including “Puppy Love” and “(Youre) Having My Baby”, cemented his status as an icon.
My Way is bursting with rich, rollicking stories of the business and the people in Ankas 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 hes been in for almost six decades. My Way moves from New York to Vegas, from the casino stage to backstages all over the world. Its 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. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A lively, entertaining autobiography by one of the true legends of the music busines."--Booklist "Tenacious, tickled with success, Anka splashes plenty of juice and little restraint."--Publishers Weekly
The smooth, charismatic singer and songwriter in his own words—the long-awaited autobiography that reveals a life that has been much more dramatic than his crooning reveals
A teen idol of the 1950s who virtually invented the idea of singer-songwriter-heartthrob that still fuels the industry today, Paul Ankas slew of hits—from “Diana” to “Put Your Head on my Shoulder”—earned him a place touring with the major stars of his era, including Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Holly. He wrote Hollys last hit, and just missed being a passenger on Hollys fatal plane flight. Anka also stepped in front of the camera for the teen beach-party movie era, writing the music for the movies and sleeping with many of their starlets, including the much-more-carnal-than-her-image Annette Funicello.
When the British invasion wiped out the style of music that had made him famous, Anka made sure his “wipeout” wasnt the end of his story. An astute businessman and image-builder who didnt let anyone else run his career, he toured the world until returning home for his “comeback”, becoming a charter member of the Rat Pack, writing the theme music for The Tonight Show as well as his friend Frank Sinatras anthem “My Way”.
The Times of My Life is bursting with rich, rollicking stories of the people who have been part of Anka's life: Elizabeth Taylor, Tom Jones, Steve Wynn, Michael Jackson, Kirk Kerkorian, Adnan Khashoggi, Dodi Fayed, Brooke Shields, Donald Trump, Sammy Davis, Jr., Brigitte Bardot, the acrobats in the Barnum & Bailey Circus, and many more.
About the Author
PAUL ANKA had his own vocal group by the age of thirteen and released his first single at fourteen. His first #1 hit, “Diana”, made him a star. By the 1970s, a multi-decade string of pop hits, from “Puppy Love” to “(Youre) Having My Baby”, cemented his status as an icon. He lives in Southern California.
DAVID DALTON, a founding contributor of Rolling Stone, is the author of fifteen books, including Piece of My Heart, Faithfull with Marianne, and Bob's Brain: Decoding Dylan.