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Old Jun 8th, 2005, 09:02 PM        Paul Anka covers Oasis and Soundgarden
I just read about this. This sounds a lot like that album of metal covers Pat Boone did a few years back:


Anka Swings, Baby!

The late -'50 ~ icon hits the casino circuit with a jazzy new covers album

March 6, 2005 - New York Daily News - Phil Roura
The year was 1957. A 16-year-old kid from Ottawa found himself with a serious crush on his 18-year-old neighbor. That was all the inspiration a young Paul Anka needed to write the hit song, "Diana."

"Diana's" catchy calypso beat, not to mention its familiar tale of teen angst, propelled it to the top of the charts, launching Anka's career. Today, Diana Ayoub, the onetime baby-sitter behind the tune, is an asterisk in pop music history. But the 64-year-old Anka continues to sing, tour and record. He's even experimenting with - yikes - rock 'n' roll.

"I've taken a bunch of classics by Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Nirvana, the Pet Shop Boys, Eric Clapton and others, rearranged them with a jazz beat, added a big band sound and made them swing," says Anka, who also wrote the sock-hop smashes "Lonely Boy," "Put Your Head on My Shoulder", "Puppy Love" and "I Love You Baby."

A swing version of "Blackhole Sun" might send some rock fans running for the hills, but, surprisingly, "Rock Swings" may be among Anka's best albums. It was released by Sony Music in Germany last week and will hit U.S. shelves later this year. Atlantic City audiences will get a preview Friday and Saturday when Anka plays the Borgata -just one of the many casinos he plays annually.

Another special occasion is also in the works - Anka will return home to Canada on June 18 to receive the Order of Canada from Prime Minister Paul Martin. He's even getting a star on Ottawa's Walk of Fame. "I don't know if that means I'm getting old or I'm about to die," Anka says with a laugh.

Having written "My Way" for Frank Sinatra, the "Tonight Show" theme for Johnny Carson and the score for Darryl F. Zanuck's epic movie "The Longest Day," there doesn't seem to be much else for Anka to conquer, yet "Rock Swings" attempts to do just that. "I've always been intrigued by these artists," he says of the bands he mined. "They've written some powerful lyrics."

The 14-track album opens with a surprisingly jazzy version of the theme song from "Rocky III," "Eye of the Tiger," transitioning into a cover of Van Helen's "Jump" that features a touch of Sinatra. Performed by Anka, REM's "Everybody Hurts," another single, is a bluesy wonder.

He picks up the beat with Oasis' "Wonderwall," enunciating Liam Gallagher's lyrics with the crispness that has always marked Anka's music, followed by Bon Jovi's "It's My Life," the Pet Shop Boys' "It's a Sin," Lionel Richie's "Hello," "Eyes Without a Face" by Billy Idol and Michael Jackson's 'The Way You Make Me Feel," "Tears in Heaven," Eric Clapton's eulogy to his dead son, Conor, wraps up the CD with a reverent, moving salute to Clapton.

It's an exceptional tribute album to the music of the '80s, one of Anka's favorite genres. But something is troubling the troubadour.

"The music industry is in a state of flux, business is not good," he says. "The technology available to kids today over-shadows [what is produced in the studios]. Kids don't go to record stores - they get their music from friends or [download it off the Internet]."

He's also worried about venues for today's pop music. "A lot of artists are making music for video games but the kids aren't paying attention to the music. They're only interested in the games," he says. "[So] we have to develop an infrastructure that can accommodate the needs of the consumer and the needs of the artist."

In the meantime, Anka will continue to play live and make music on his own terms. He also promises he'll finally guest-star on "Arrested Development," the quirky hit show starring his son-in-law Jason Bateman (he's married to Amanda, one of Anka's five daughters).

It could be the perfect venue for Anka's version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
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