In 1956, he convinced his parents to let him travel to Los Angeles. When Anka returned New York in 1957, he scored a meeting with Don Costa, the A&R man for ABC-Paramount Records. He played him a batch of songs that included Diana _ Costa was duly enthusiastic about the potential of the young singer and songwriter. The rapid and enormous success of Diana – his first number one hit _ made him a star.
They are all very autobiographical, says Anka of his early hits. I was alone, traveling, girls screaming, and I never got near them. I’m a teenager and feeling isolated and all that. That becomes eLonely Boy.’ At record hops, I’m up on stage and all these kids are holding each other with heads on each other’s shoulders. Then I have to go have dinner in my room because there are thousands of kids outside the hotel ‘Put Your Head on My Shoulder’ was totally that experience.
By the time the Beatles arrived in the sixties, Anka had another tool in his survival kit. After a few hits, he says, I knew I was a writer, and with writers, the power was always in the pen. When I started writing for Buddy Holly and Connie Francis, I felt that it made me different for people they’d say, Hey, you can write, you can fall back on something. Among his proudest accomplishments was writing the Academy Award-nominated theme for The Longest Day, the 1962 film in which he also starred.
Becoming a junior associate of Sinatra and the Rat Pack also had its privileges. By the e70s, the success of My Way and a string of hits like (You’re) Having My Baby confirmed his status as an icon of popular music. His later achievements as a recording artist, included Hold Me eTil the Morning Comes, a hit duet with Peter Cetera in 1983, the Spanish-language album Amigos in 1996, and Body of Work, a 1998 duets album that featured Frank Sinatra, Celine Dion, Patti LaBelle, Tom Jones and daughter Anthea Anka. If this wasn’t enough, it was revealed upon its release in 2009, that Anka co-wrote Michael Jackson’s posthumous #1 worldwide hit, This Is It, which has further cemented his place upon the most prolific and versatile songwriters of any generation.