An Open Letter To Paul Anka

Ken AshfordRandom MusingsLeave a Comment

Dear Paul:

Stop it.  For God’s sake, please stop it.

I remember well the summer of 1974 when America endured your musical glee over the fact that some chick was doing homage to you by getting knocked up.  Yes, she wanted you to know that she was "thinking of you", which is why she decided to endure several months of morning sickness, followed by the joys of sleepless nights, potty training, incessant whining, and so on — while you were wiggling your geriatric ass in front of the blue-hairs on the Vegas strip.

But "Having My Baby" was over thirty years ago, and I was just about ready to forgive you your musical trespasses.  When you came out with your album Rock Swings, I actually bought it, rather than vomit.  I thought you were being tongue-in-cheek and having fun with yourself.  I mean, a Las Vegas-y rendition of Smells Like Teen Spirit?

That’s funny, cat.  I mean, I liked it …as a novelty song.  Kinda like when Pat Boone was doing cover songs of Smoke On The Water and songs by Metallica and Judas Priest. 

But you see, when Pat did it, we all knew he was having fun and just screwing around.  We were part of the joke.

But you, Paul — you seem to think this is serious art.  Really, I don’t want to hear your covers of Duran Duran.  I don’t want you to sing Foreigner, and do duets with Bon Jovi.  Okay, we’ll let you sing Both Sides Now, but how can you take one of the great ballads of the 1980’s — Time After Time — and jazz it up for your god-forsaken lounge act at the Sands?

Is this appealing even to your fans?  Look, they just want you to sing Diana and Puppy Love and close with Put Your Head On My Shoulder.  Maybe reminisce about the old days.  Trust me on this, buballa — you’re not going to get "in" with the kids by singing Daniel Powter stuff.

I know what you’re going to say: you don’t want to tread water like Barry Manilow and Rod Stewart, who seem content on doing the old American classics.  Tell you what Paul — how about we let them do the contemporary covers, and you do the Gershwin stuff?  Deal?