TODAY

TODAY   |  May 20, 2013

Paul Anka: How I helped discover the Beatles

The legendary Paul Anka is no stranger to the music business after spending 55 years as an entertainer, singer and songwriter. He’s out with a new book called “My Way,” and tells Kathie Lee and Hoda how he helped kickstart the Beatles career.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> all day long, that's the great paul anka , singing "my way."

>> the song he penned for frank sinatra , the story behind that song and others is part of his "new york times" best-selling book "my way." and he also has a new cd out called "dutets".

>> a look so good, by the way, terrific.

>> he has got the knack to how to manipulate and manage through the decades and stay relevant. which is a tough thing to do in the music industry , isn't it?

>> indeed and in life.

>> and in life.

>> and some of the stories we can't even tell you about them, the one with tom jones and the sheep? i don't want to go there. but there are those things that you reading and you're going, oh my gosh. so it's juicy. but it's not mean. it's not a mean book.

>> no, no. there's no malicious, there's no giving up of any confidences, it's just what i experienced, the sheep didn't even know who i was.

>> now you were, you were well described as like sort of the justin bieber of your day. and a lot of times stars like that flame out.

>> you were 15 when you had your first hit.

>> i was 15, a fellow canadian. i guess there's some comparison, as i've heard. and listen, it's difficult right now, because it's a different time. different technology. media-drifg society. back then, it was easier, you could fail, you could learn from your failures.

>> now it's different.

>> totally different and i think you'll be fine, you've got good canadian blood in there.

>> the thing that never changes is that there will always be screaming, prepubescent girls, right?

>> absolutely.

>> talk about how you went from being that guy to then going -- other directions, and i love the story of you with the beatles in europe before they hit here. he a big part of the beatles coming here. because you went to a certain person and they called a guy -- and --

>> correct. all of those machinations going on.

>> i was working in europe, we weren't in a media-driven society. so nobody knew what was going on anywhere in the world. i'm in paris and i see this new group called the beatles . i'm in london and i meet them. and we're talking. and i would come home to my agents, normie weiss and i would say normie, there's this group and they're the beatles and they got hair and they got this. and i said you got to see these guys, they're unbelievable. nobody listens. and ultimately, he got on a plane and signed them and got them over in '64. nobody was aware today, i always use the analogy if cnn were around back in the '40s, hitler would never have left germany, you know.

>> you almost put yourself out of work with doing that because then the british invasion happened and you were suddenly not the cool guy.

>> and that's okay. you know why? what happened was, we were not embraced. all of these teen idols, we were very specific to fans. and madison avenue , we were not embraced in totality by everyone. when the beatles hit, that whole window opened to the music industry . and it went to another level. and you realized that you needed that evolution for the business to get better. and that's why i went back to my writing and kept writing, the "tonight show" theme, " longest day ."

>> and michael buble was someone who you spotted, a fellow canadian. he's got the chops.

>> my buddy brought him to me and we produced him.

>> we were excited about your book.

>> it's fascinating. terrific. whether you love the music industry or a great success story. or just a story of a great guy through the decades.

>>> tomorrow our guys tell-all panel answer your burning questions about the men in your life.

>>> and the actor michael caine