On today’s date in 1959, The Billboard released its Music Popularity Charts for pop songs for the week ending Oct. 10.
Ottawa-born singer Paul Anka reached the second spot with his single, Put Your Head on My Shoulder. It was second only to Bobby Darin’s Mack the Knife.
Anka wrote the song at the peak of his popularity (although he would also have hits in the ’70s and ’90s) and captures the essence of teen pop culture in the late-1950s.
Forty-eight years later—on June 29, 2007—Canada Post issued a set of four domestic rate stamps (then 52 cents) to celebrate Anka alongside fellow Canadian music icons Joni Mitchell, Anne Murray and Gordon Lightfoot.
Four eight-stamp CD-shaped Canadian Recording Artists booklets, each with a cover featuring an image of one of the artists, was issued; inside the booklets, the stamps are arranged in one of four different orders, with the artist on the cover appearing in the top-left position. Inspired by album covers, each stamp is square shaped and features a photo of the artist along with distinctively styled fonts appropriate to the era.
Born on July 30, 1941, Anka began performing at local shows as well as on the radio at the age of 10; he had his first professional gig by the time he was only 15 years old.
Anka’s first hit, Diana, soared to the top of Billboard’s charts in less than four weeks before becoming the number one song in the world and the second-biggest-selling song ever recorded. This was soon followed by his aforementioned single, Put Your Head on My Shoulder.
Anka has recorded 125 albums, selling about 15 million copies worldwide. He’s also the lyricist behind hits by other musicians, such as Tom Jones’ She’s a Lady; Buddy Holly’s It Doesn’t Matter Anymore; and Frank Sinatra’s My Way. Throughout his long career, he has earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; an induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame; the Order of Arts and Letters from the French government; and an induction into Canada’s Walk of Fame.
Upon being inducted to Canada’s Walk of Fame, Anka said: “My family came here to Canada … they were allowed to pursue their dreams and soon felt that this was their home. It’s true, I left as a teenager, pursued those dreams. A man once said you can’t go back, you can’t go home again—well, that guy was not a Canadian.”