Paul Anka:  Diana

Quiz by Sharon Michiko Yoneda

Diana Ayoub, the muse behind Paul Anka's hit song, Diana

artist:  Paul Anka

songwriter:  Paul Anka

date released:  1996 by Paul Anka

Once upon a time, Canada most beloved singer, songwriter, and actor, Paul Anka was born in Ottawa in 1941.  His parents were immigrants from Lebanon who operated a successful restaurant in Ottawa.  As a teenager, Anka developed a talent for writing songs which appealed to teenagers.

Anka wrote Diana for an older babysitter of his.  Diana Ayoub, the Ottawa woman who inspired Paul Anka's 1957 hit Diana when the two were still teenagers.

Despite the song's opening line, "I'm so young, and you're so old," Ayoub was barely 18 when Anka, then nearly 16, recorded it in New York. Diana would top the charts for weeks, selling millions of copies and making Anka a household name.

"I didn't expect it to be that huge," Ayoub told CBC four decades later. "It was all over the world, you know, I could go nowhere. Peeping toms followed me, it was pretty wild."

The two had met through Ottawa's vibrant Lebanese community, where Anka used to entertain at church events. In his 2013 autobiography, the singer referred to Ayoub as his "teen crush," putting to rest the long-standing myth that she had been his babysitter.

 From Ayoub's perspective, however, it was still a one-sided affair.

"I absolutely didn't have a clue," she told CBC in 1997. "I encouraged him a great deal and thought we were just friends."

In his lifetime, Anka has won numerous awards and honours. Many of his recordings have become platinum records. Anka was an inductee into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1980 at the annual Juno Award Ceremony.  His most memorable award was the prestigious Order of Canada which he received in 2005.