George and I just got back from seeing a wonderful performance by Paul Anka. He was absolutely marvelous and the audience was so thrilled with his performance, they wouldn’t let him leave the stage after performing two hours straight.
His initial entry to the stage was through a side door into the theater and he went down the side aisle to the stage. I was sitting on the aisle and as he came closer to my seat I reached out my hand which he grabbed and gave me a strong handshake and a great big smile. Golly gee, I felt like a teenager all over again and my heart skipped a beat.
For those of you who are too young to remember the 51- year career of Paul Anka, he was a teen idol in the 1950’s and teens would flock to see him in person. Paul was a major hit on American Bandstand, hosted by Dick Clark, one of the most popular television shows for teenagers in the 50’s and 60’s. Paul Anka started singing at the age of 13 and wrote his first big hit Diana at age 16. He is considered one of the most popular songwriters in history. If you never heard him sing, I am sure you will recognize some classic pop songs he wrote: She’s a Lady, Puppy Love, My Way (Sinatra’s signature song), You Are My Destiny, plus the big hit, Put Your Head on My Shoulder and many others. Aside from the 100’s of big hits he wrote, he also wrote the theme for the Johnny Carson Show and the theme for the classic war movie, The Longest Day. In fact, he even had a part in the movie. Anka tells his audience, who remember his huge success in the music business, that “the pop culture tidal wave caused by The Beatles wiped Anka and other teen singers off the pop charts”. Mr. Anka then concentrated on his songwriting and lived in Europe for several years. In the 70’s he made a return to the Billboard charts with the hit You’re Having My Baby. He is still doing tours and recently released a new album, Rock Swings.
The theater was standing room only and the majority of the audience were senior citizens. If I thought I was a teenager again, you wouldn’t believe the reaction of the total audience. They were constantly on their feet, swinging and swaying, in fact, even doing the “twist”. I don’t know if any of you young ones remember hearing your parents talking about the dance craze “Do the Twist”. Believe me, in our younger days we did move, even though now we are a little slower on our feet. His band of 14 was topnotch and extremely talented and professional. For those who have seen Vegas shows, this was the Vegas of the 60’s in 2009. A memorable moment in the show was a stirring and heart rendering tribute to Sammy Davis, Jr. complete with video effects. It tore the house down, particularly for the “Rat Pack” generation.
This audience was alive again, they felt the beat, they remembered their youth, and it was a great time had by all. I don’t think the Jonas Brothers fans could have outdone us tonight.