Today is the 80th birthday of a rock and roll pioneer, singer, and composer: Paul Anka. In addition to his more well-known songs, he also composed the theme for Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” and Frank Sinatra (and many others) hit “My Way.”
Here is the information posted today on one of my rock music Groups on FaceBook, “Rock the Oldies with me Lisa Marie:”
One of the biggest classic pop performers, Canadian singer-songwriter Paul Anka moved from teen heartthrob to adult artist with a slew of hits.
Born in Canada in 1941, teen singer Paul Anka’s hit “Diana” sold millions of copies and set him up as a top teen idol with prolific songwriting abilities. He then appeared in several films, headlined a Vegas act, hosted TV variety shows and wrote hits for the likes of Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones. He rose to the top of the charts again with the 1974 duet “You’re Having My Baby.”
Famed singer-songwriter Paul Anka was born on July 30, 1941, in Ottawa, Canada. Anka was the eldest of three children born to his Lebanese-Canadian parents, Andy and Camelia Anka. Anka spent his childhood helping out in the kitchen and schmoozing with patrons of his father’s restaurant, the Locanda, a popular hangout for Ottawa journalists, politicians and businessmen. From an early age, it was clear that Anka had an abundance of confidence and big dreams of life on stage. “I was pretty precocious, a pretty aggressive kid,” Anka said. “I think my parents knew they had an unusual child.
“Shortly after his 15th birthday, Anka bought himself a ticket to Los Angeles, staying with an uncle there while he tried to make his name as a singer. At the year’s end, he convinced his father to let him go to New York City in search of his big break. His father agreed, on one condition: If Paul couldn’t make it big in the Big Apple, he would have to come back home to Ottawa.
Anka hit the Manhattan pavement running. Soon after his arrival, he landed a meeting with Don Costa, an executive at ABC/Paramount Records, who agreed to listen to a few minutes of Anka’s music. After hearing the teenager play some of his songs on the piano, Costa called in his colleagues. Within days, Anka’s father was in New York signing a contract on behalf of his son, who was still a minor and thus couldn’t sign on his own.
Two Navy ship disasters in two days: Yesterday was the USS FORRESTAL and today is the USS INDIANAPOLIS. I knew this one was coming; it’s been on my calendar all year.
Several years ago, my landlord was an INDIANAPOLIS survivor. During World War II, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Charles McKissick served in INDIANAPOLIS and survived the sinking. We used to sit and talk in McKinney, TX, about our times in the Navy and he would talk about the days and nights he spent in the water after the sinking before being rescued. Every year, Charles would travel to Indianapolis, IN, each July for the ship’s reunion. When he returned, he would tell me that many of his shipmates were missing that year. The numbers continued to dwindle down at each reunion. This was in the early 1990s. LTJG Charles McKissick is also gone now. Rest In Peace, Sir. You and your Shipmates earned your reward. “Rest your oars, Sir. We have the Watch, now.” God bless these brave men and God bless America.
Here is Guest Author and Historian Tara Ross’ essay today on the sinking of the USS INDIANAPOLIS (CA 35) on July 30, 1945:
On this day in 1945, USS Indianapolis is sunk by Japanese torpedoes. The survivors would float in the ocean for days before they were found.
There was just one silver lining to the tragedy. Indianapolis had already performed the most important part of its mission: It had successfully carried parts for the Little Boy atomic bomb across the Pacific. American bombers would soon carry Little Boy toward Hiroshima. In combination with the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Little Boy would ultimately force an end to World War II.
If only crew members had known what they were carrying! But they didn’t. Instead, Indianapolis completed its delivery of the bomb components on July 26. The ship’s captain, Captain Charles McVay, then continued on to Guam. He was ordered to continue on to the Leyte Gulf.
Unfortunately, the seeds for tragedy were already being sown.
A transmission containing Indianapolis’s expected route was sent ahead to the Leyte Gulf. Unfortunately, a radio staff member there decoded part of the message incorrectly. As a result, the senior officer to whom McVay was to report had no idea that Indianapolis was coming.
Thus, he would not miss her when she failed to arrive on time a few days later. But that wasn’t the only problem. McVay had requested an escort to the Philippines, but he would not get one. Indianapolis had no sonar capabilities, limiting McVay’s ability to detect Japanese submarines on its own. When McVay heard that he wouldn’t have an escort, he took the news calmly. He’d traveled alone before, and the intelligence report for his voyage indicated that the trip should be routine.
It turns out that two critical pieces of information were missing from that intelligence report. Japanese submarines were known to be operating along his planned path.
Thus, no one was really worried—even if they should have been. It was assumed that Indianapolis could travel safely through these backwaters from Guam to the Leyte Gulf. The ship and its crew left Guam, alone, on July 28.
The voyage was uneventful at first, but the evening of July 29 brought difficulties. Visibility became limited. Indianapolis had been zigzagging through the water, theoretically making it more difficult for a submarine to attack her. But as visibility worsened, Captain McVay ordered a stop to the zigzagging. He had been given discretion to make such a decision, although he was later criticized for making that call.
A little before midnight, a Japanese submarine spotted Indianapolis. Six torpedoes were fired at her just after midnight. Two of these torpedoes found their mark and tore their way through the American ship.
One sailor later described the impact: “Whoom. Up in the air I went. There was water, debris, fire, everything just coming up and we were 81ft (25m) from the water line. It was a tremendous explosion. Then, about the time I got to my knees, another one hit. Whoom.”
One torpedo blew away the bow of the ship. A second torpedo hit near the fuel compartment. The ship exploded—it sank in only 12 minutes! At least one distress signal was sent as the ship went down, but the signal was ignored. Possibly Americans thought that the distress signal was a Japanese ruse to lure rescue ships out to sea.
Of the nearly 1,200 men on board, about 900 men survived the initial explosion and went overboard into the water. They would not be rescued for days.