Diana – Paul Anka

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………………….on May 21st of 1957 sixteen year old Paul Anka records “Diana” at the ABC-Paramount studios in New York. The song would reach #1 in the US the following September and became the first of his 33 US Top 40 hits. It was also a chart topper in the UK. Paul Anka turned a crush on an older girl into his breakthrough hit. He was just 15 years old when he wrote “Diana” about his unrequited love for Diana Ayoub, who was five years older. “She was a little out of my league,” Anka said. “She really didn’t want anything to do with me, which made it even worse.” Ayoub and Anka didn’t cross paths all that often; he would see her at church and some other functions, and she would sometimes babysit his younger brother and sister. The crush didn’t go anywhere, but the song did. It hit #1 in the US and UK, launching his career. Anka and his family moved from Ottawa, Canada to New Jersey, where they set up a publishing and management operation to support his career. Anka became one of the biggest hitmakers of the pre-Beatles rock era, and enjoyed a career revival in the ’70s with another string of hits, including the #1 “(You’re) Having My Baby.” This was a #1 hit in America for one week, but in the UK it stayed on top for a remarkable nine weeks. In both territories, the song reached the top spot in September 1957. It was first released in America; when a European record distributor heard the song in a New York record store, he arranged for the song to be issued on that continent, where it proved immensely popular. Anka was the first teenager to have a million-seller in the UK – he was 16 when it charted. At the time, it was the biggest-selling single in the UK history. Anka was one of the few teenagers writing and recording songs about teenage love in the ’50s. Most hits of the era were written by professional songwriters who were much older. Anka never reconnected with Diana Ayoub, the subject of the song. In 2002, the Ottawa Citizen reported that she had two children, was divorced, and was managing a dress shop in the city.