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Dec. 3, 2021

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Paul Anka to do it his way at ilani

Singer-songwriter to fete Sinatra, and his own career

By , Columbian staff writer
2 Photos
Paul Anka sings the songs of Frank Sinatra - including songs Anka wrote his way - at ilani on Oct. 11.
Paul Anka sings the songs of Frank Sinatra - including songs Anka wrote his way - at ilani on Oct. 11. Photo Gallery

When Frank Sinatra was doing it his way, he was actually doing it Paul Anka’s way.

Sinatra’s towering tribute to tough-guy individualism was provided for him by Anka, a native Canadian of Syrian-Lebanese extraction, who adapted the music from a French pop tune that he bought for a song (pun intended). Anka wrote new words for the song with Sinatra in mind. It seems to take an international village to declare your solo glory. Ironic, isn’t it?

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. today for a 60th anniversary celebration of Anka’s career at ilani. The concert, set for 8 p.m. Oct. 11, is called “Anka Sings Sinatra: His Songs, My Songs, My Way,” but it also reviews the many hits Anka has enjoyed as a solo artist and composer for other artists, too.

Anka, now 76, has had that kind of career: successful on stage, but even more influential and important behind the scenes.

The young crooner from Ottawa started scoring hits he wrote himself in the late 1950s and early 1960s — songs like “Diana” and “Lonely Boy” — but had even greater success writing for famous friends like Sinatra, Buddy Holly, Tom Jones and Johnny Carson, whose swinging “Tonight Show” theme song was an Anka composition.

If You Go

 What: “Paul Anka Sings Sinatra: His Songs, My Songs, My Way.”

 When: 8 p.m. Oct. 11.

 Where: Cowlitz Ballroom at ilani, 1 Cowlitz Way, Ridgefield.

 Tickets: $39 to $59.

Anka’s career sagged after British Invasion rock ‘n’ roll came to America, but by the 1970s he was back on top with hits like “Having my Baby” and “Times of Your Life.” It even emerged after pop superstar Michael Jackson’s death that his posthumous hit “This Is It” was a collaboration with Anka. In 2013, Anka released a 14-song album called “Duets” featuring special guests stars such as Celine Dion and Michael Bubl?.

“Duets” set a record for the music business and for Anka: He’s the only artist to appear on the Billboard Top 100 chart seven decades in a row.