Now for the new Paul Anka

Paul Anka makes a Personal Appearance

TVTimes masthead
From the TVTimes for week commencing 31 December 1961

PAUL ANKA, star of Granada’s Personal Appearance on Wednesday, is an agreeable youngster who seems remarkably composed by the fact that, at 20, he earns a million-and-a-half dollars a year.

Even more remarkable, he has reached this palmy income bracket in just four years. Only the tax man is likely to halt the flow of Anka dollars to any appreciable extent.

Paul Anka

For Paul is something of a one-man band. He doesn’t have to pay a lyric writer, music writer, or even a song publisher. He does the lot himself.

Two American artists make their first appearance on British television with Paul in this hour of music and comedy — 16-year-old vocalist Linda Scott and comedian Johnny Carson.

Linda, who will sing Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off with Anka, soared to success a year ago with her first recording of the song I’ve Told Every Little Star, which sold 1,000,000 copies.

She won a Golden Disc. At 16, Paul did the same thing with his first recording, Diana.

Johnny Carson, who has had his own television show in America for the past four years, has been described by newspaper critics as “a logical successor to Bob Hope and Jack Benny.”

“In this programme,” said Irvin Feld, Paul’s personal manager, “you are going to see the new Paul Anka.

“When he was in Britain nearly four years ago. he sang his current hits which were aimed specifically at the teenagers. Songs like Diana.

“But since then, Paul has been undergoing a vast change. He has been bridging the gap between teenagers and an adult audience.

“The result is that he now appeals to audiences of all ages. We have even given him a facial change. We had a plastic surgery job done on his nose which makes him better looking than ever,” said Mr. Feld.

“His voice, too, has a fullness and a range it never had in the beginning. Even his song writing has changed. He is writing mature lyrics now.

“In Wednesday’s show he will include a 15-minute spot in which he will sing only established ballads and some of his own songs written in the same vein.

“It will be like telling the story of his life in song, a sort of potted biography.”

Linda Scott
Linda Scott: the girl with a Golden Disc

The story of his life is really his four-year-old career. Before Diana put him on the map, Paul was just another school kid who had dabbled at singing from the age of ten.

His family are Syrians, although Paul was born in Ottawa, where his career began to open up after a New York record company heard him singing on the radio.

He talks assuredly and frankly: “I’m not a brash kid,” he says. “You have to try and stay reasonably humble about success.

“I started out as a Rock ‘n’ Roll singer and, let’s face it, I owed my success to the teenagers. But I knew in my mind that I had to bridge the gap and get the adults to accept me, too.”

He drummed his fingers assertively on the table. “I don’t kid myself. I’m just out of the kindergarten stage. I’ve got a long way to go.

“But I figure it this way. The all-time greats, fellows like Frank Sinatra, and Bing Crosby … well, they have to retire some time. Younger people have got to take over.

“The freakish thing about this business is that you can make a lot of money. I’ve done just that, and it’s nice to have the money.

“But, honestly, the accomplishment of becoming a great entertainer means a whole lot more to me right now.”

In America. Paul has been described as a “sort of sophisticated Rock ’n’ Roller.”

“In a way,” says Paul, “that’s a compliment, I guess. It shows my development is being noticed. But really people say this about me because they don’t know yet how to describe me.

“It’s true I was the youngest among the kids like Fabian, Tommy Sands and Frankie Avalon to appear in night clubs in the States.

“This is why they call me sophisticated. Playing the plush night clubs in America is a measure of success. So in that sense I’m a pioneer.”

Paul summed up: “This is quite something, but it doesn’t scare me. At my age I suppose I should be scared by success. But I have never got into anything that I didn’t like.

“I love what I’m doing too much to be worried about it.”

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