I’m so young and you’re so old
This, my darling, I’ve been told
I don’t care just what they say
Cause forever I will pray
You and I will be as free
As the birds up in the trees
Oh, please stay by me, Diana
Thrills I get when you hold me close
Oh, my darling, you’re the most
I love you but do you love me
Oh, Diana, can’t you see
I love you with all my heart
And I hope we will never part
Oh, please stay with me, Diana
A love song written and made famous by Paul Anka in 1957, “Diana” was recorded in May 1957 at Don Costa studio in New York City.
Anka stated in his autobiography that the song was inspired by a girl named Diana Ayoub, whom he had met at his church and community events, and had developed a crush on.
Paul Anka’s original 1957 recording reached number one on the Billboard “Best Sellers In Stores” chart. It climbed no higher than number 2 on Billboard’s composite “Top 100” chart. Additionally, it has reportedly sold over nine million copies.
“Diana” also hit number one on the R&B Best Sellers chart. It also reached number 1 on the UK’s New Musical Express chart and sold 1.25 million copies in the UK.
After signing with RCA Records, Anka re-recorded “Diana“, along with many other hits in 1963, for the album Paul Anka’s 21 Golden Hits.
Written as a plea from a teenage boy who has fallen in love with a girl a few years older, Diana launched Paul Anka into stardom and made him an international pop icon. To note, it was the first example of his remarkable songwriting talent and remains one of the most popular love songs of the 1950’s.
Paul Anka turned a crush on an older girl into his breakthrough hit. He was just 15 years old when he wrote “Diana” about his unrequited love for Diana Ayoub, who was five years older.
“She was a little out of my league. She really didn’t want anything to do with me, which made it even worse.”
Ayoub and Anka didn’t cross paths all that often. He would see her at church and some other functions, and she would sometimes babysit his younger brother and sister.
Anka never reconnected with Diana Ayoub, the subject of the song. In 2002, the Ottawa Globe And Mail reported that she had two children, was divorced, and was managing a dress shop in the city.
The crush didn’t go anywhere, but the song did. It hit no. 1 in the US and UK, launching his career.
A No. 1 Hit in the US and UK
“Diana” was a no. 1 hit in America for one week, but in the UK it stayed on top for a remarkable nine weeks. In both territories, the song reached the top spot in September 1957. It was first released in America; when a European record distributor heard the song in a New York record store, he arranged for the song to be issued on that continent, where it proved immensely popular.
Regarding the song’s overseas success, Anka explained,
“My record has a Semitic sound to it, like a chant. It gives my records a European feel.”
Anka was the first teenager to have a million-seller in the UK – he was 16 when it charted. At the time, it was the biggest-selling single in the UK history.
Diana was Anka’s first release with ABC-Paramount and earned no. 1 status on the Billboard chart for eighteen weeks. It went on to sell 20 million copies worldwide and become one of the most successful pop records in history, having reportedly been recorded over 300 times in 16 countries between 1957 and 1963.
In 1963, Anka recorded a sequel called “Remember Diana,” where she has left him and broken his heart. That one reached #39 in the US.
Watch Paul Anka perform his 50’s hit love song, “Diana.”