Canadian singer Paul Anka is the songwriter who penned the lyrics to Frank Sinatra classic My Way.
Now 71, the Ottawa-born singer who began his career with the breakout hit Diana in 1957 is ready to look back. He does it in My Way, his autobiography being released Tuesday along with a new CD that has him singing with a bevy of stars, living and dead.
Anka has rubbed shoulders with two generations of pop stars, from Sinatra and Tom Jones to Michael Jackson. He wrote Jones’ biggest hit She’s A Lady, Donny Osmond’s Puppy Love and collaborated with Jackson on This is It.
That’s on top of his solo career which gave rise to hits such as Lonely Boy, You’re Having My Baby and Put Your Head on My Shoulder.
For his new recording Duets, Anka is sharing the limelight with stars such as Sinatra and Sammy Davis, due to the magic of new technology which blends archival voices with his own.
Anka spoke to CBC News about his disputes with Michael Jackson’s estate over rights to some of the music and how he feels about singing alongside stars who are long departed.
"It kind of brought them to life again, frankly, maybe ‘cause the memories are so deep with all these guys, especially the Rat Pack where I spent so many years with them and witnessed and have seen so much stuff, which is in the book," Anka said.
"But all of a sudden, now, to have them right around you in a modern-day recording because of the technology, it was kind of very cool."
In his book Anka looks back to those Rat Pack years and how a kid from Ottawa gained the confidence to write for a mature star like Sinatra, who also recorded his song Let Me Try Again after My Way became a massive hit.
Both the album Duets and the book My Way are released Tuesday.