In tribute to Paul Anka’s newest album Making Memories just released in August of 2021, we thought it was time to celebrate the music of Paul Anka and choose our ten favorite Paul Anka songs. Of course picking just ten is not an easy thing to do because we have probably close to fifty favorite Paul Anka songs as we are big fans of this amazing artist. Paul Anka has been releasing music for sixty five years. His career took off as a young fifteen year old teen idol when he had a number one single in 1957 entitled “Diana.” In the late 1950s he had a series of huge hits making him one of the biggest stars in the music business.
As Paul Anka grew into his 20s, his career would continue to flourish as he made all the right moves and some pretty good friends along the way. Paul Anka would celebrate success as both a performing artist becoming a big draw on the concert scene while along enjoying amazing songwriter success when songs he composed were turned into major hits by artists such as Tom Jones and the great Frank Sinatra. In the mid 1970s between 1974 and 1978, Paul Anka enjoyed more success on the pop charts as an artist with a series of hit albums and hit singles with one reaching all the way to number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Paul Anka has never stopped working since the days of his his first single release entitled “Confess,” in 1956. Just two weeks ago on August 13 2021, Paul Anka released a brand new album which we mentioned in the opening of this article. Since 1958, Paul Anka has released twenty nine studio albums. He has released hundreds of singles and lord knows how many songs he has written. He is a priceless musical treasure and a one of a kind talent that has brought millions of people great joys in their lives. Here are ten of our favourite Paul Anka songs…. well maybe a couple of more as we kind of stuffed some extras in that we just could not leave out.
# 10 -“Johnny’s Theme” (Tonight Show Theme)
We open up our top 10 Paul Anka songs list with a song some may be surprised by. Yes, Paul Anka composed the theme from the Tonight Show for the Johnny Carson era known as “Johnny’s Theme.” The great theme performed by Doc Severinsen and his band every night would become one of the most popular musical themes in television history. The theme was used every night from 1962 to 1992 when Johnny Carson was the host of the Tonight Show. The theme was retired when Jay Leno took over the show and hired Branford Marsalis to write a new theme.
The song’s origins came from an instrumental song entitled “Toot Sweet,” that Paul Anka had originally composed in 1959. Later on, Paul Anka added lyrics to the instrumental and changed the name of the song to “It’s Really Love,” which was recorded by singer Annette Funicello. When Johnny came calling, Paul Anka once again worked on the tune and told Johnny Carson that if he wrote some lyrics to the tune, Carson would get fifty percent of the royalties from the song. That seemed like a pretty good deal for everyone as that the song would be played every night for the next thirty years making everyone a lot of money. Paul Anka was only twenty years old when he handed “Johnny’s Theme,” to Carson.
# 9 – Papa
Continuing with our top 10 Paul Anka songs list we take a listen to the heartwarming song entitled “Papa.” The song was never released as a single but it would become of the those dearly loved albums tracks that all of Paul Anka’s fans would hold close to their heart. It’s a hard songs to listen too but quite beautiful at the same time. The song was released on the album entitled Anka. The album was released in 1974. The Anka album would become Paul Anka’s highest charting album of his career and his only studio album to break into the top 10 of the Billboard Top 200 albums charts. Much of the success of the album’s sales was due to the album’s number one single “Having My Baby.” It was also Paul Anka’s first Gold album. The song “Papa” was recently released as a new version on Paul Anka’s new album Making Memories which was just released this month of August 2021.
# 8 – Hold Me ‘Til The Morning Comes
In the number eight spot on our top 10 Paul Anka songs list we present the song entitled “Hold Me Til The Morning Comes.” Eleven years after hitting number one with “Having My Baby,” Paul Anka returned to the top 40 with one of his most slick modern pop songs of his career. The song featured Chicago’s great vocalist Peter Cetera on the song’s astonishing chorus. This was a great pop gem proving that Paul Anka had continued to be one of the most professional and successful songwriters of the 20th century. The song was released on the fantastic album Walk A Fine Line. The album was released in 1983. It was the first single released from the album. The song was a hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number forty. It would be the last top 40 hit of Paul Anka’s career. So far…..
# 7 – She’s A Lady
There is nothing more flattering for a songwriter than having their song recorded by one of the biggest artists in music history. Of course, Paul Anka was already a huge star on his own, but a songwriter’s bank account can become much happier when their songs are recorded by mega artists who can pretty much guarantee a gold record when they record one of Paul Anka’s great songs. In this case that man was the phenomenal pop star Tom Jones. The star that girls threw their panties at on stage on a nightly basis recorded Paul Anka’s “She’s A Lady,” in 1971. The song went all the way to number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 making it Tom Jones’ biggest hit single of his career in the United States.
# 6 – Do I Love You
Landing in the number six spot on our top 10 Paul Anka songs list we present the song ” Do I Love You.” This was another fan favorite and probably one of Paul Anka’ most underrated songs. Both the verse and chorus on this one are stunning. The song was released on the album entitled The Painter. This is our favorite Paul Anka album of all time. It went out of print a long time ago and is very hard to find anywhere. I do not believe it was ever released on CD in the US. You can’t even find the album on Apple Music or any of the other streaming services. I still have the 8 track and vinyl which may have been the only formats it was ever released on. It may have been independently released on cd by the Paul Anka website or a fan club website at one time, but it is no longer available.
# 5 -Having My Baby
At the halfway point on our top 10 Paul Anka songs list is the song entitled “Having My Baby.” You remember this one. There was a lot of controversy over the lyrics to this song which we won’t get into here. The song was issued on the album entitled Anka, The album was released in 1974. It was the first single released from the album. The song was a hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number one. The song also was a number one hit in Canada. The song was recorded as a duet between Paul Anka and Odia Coates.
# 4 -Times Of Your Life
At the number four spot on our top 10 Paul Anka songs list we present the song entitled “Times of Your Life.” You either heard this one at a wedding as a parent dance in the 80s or 90s when bands still played weddings or you remember it being used as a Kodak commercial in the 70s which the song was originally written for. Nonetheless, at its core is a marvelous song. Paul Anka did not write this one but his recording of the song is just so splendid. It remains one of our favorites. The song was composed by Roger Nichols and Bill Lane.
upbeat, jubilant, high-spirited, cheery, energetic, lively, spirited, excited, rip-roaring, rhythmic, tripping, pulsating, luscious,
# 3 – Diana
Moving along on our top 10 Paul Anka songs list we present the song entitled “Diana.” This was a big one for Paul Anka. “Diana,” was Paul Anka’s first hit record and his first single to chart. It was also his first number one record as it hit number one on multiple charts in the United States and around the world. The song was actually written about a girl named “Diana.” It was a girl named Diana Ayoub who Paul Anka had met in the neighborhood and really liked. It must have been some spell because “Diana,” is the song that turned Paul Anka into a teen idol.
# 2 – Tie – Put Your Head On My Shoulder, Puppy Love, Lonely Boy
Well we just couldn’t decide which one to pick out of the next three golden hit records of Paul Anka so we picked all three of them. All three define the success that Paul Anka had as a teen idol between 1959 and 1960 that we just could not leave them out. The song “Lonely Boy,” would also become Paul Anka’s first number one hit single on the Billboard Hot 100. The other two came very close as they both hit number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Paul Anka would not have another one single on the Hot 100 until 1974 with “Having My Baby.” These three songs are just such classic hits that help tell the story of classic rock in its transition from the 1950s into the 1960s.
# 1 – My Way
We close out our top 10 Paul Anka songs list with one of the all time greatest songs ever released. Paul Anka took the melody of an old french melody called “Comme d’habitude” which was composed by songwriters Claude François and Jacques Revaux and worte new English lyrics and came up with a masterpiece. Paul Anka supposably called Frank Sinatra up and told him that he had written something very special for him. Frank Sinatra would record the song and it would eventually become his most loved song by fans. Although we have heard that Frank Sinatra would grow tired of the song, it was one that he always had to do from that point on. Nonetheless, “My Way,” would become one of the all time greats and even Paul Anka said recently that you just can’t ever write another song like “My Way.”
Top 10 Paul Anka Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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