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Cool 78 of the Month

November 2008

Les Clover Boys
Quality 205 (Canada)
Paul Anka
ABC Paramount 78-9831 (USA)

This time, rather than concentrate on one particular singer or group, we'll merge two together through the common theme of one song. The song is about a high-school girl named Diana Ayoub.

St. Elijah's Church at Lyon and McLaren Street in Ottawa Ontario in Canada was a place where teenagers in the Lebanese community would meet. A young man from Clearview Street had his eye on Diana. She was a year ahead of him in school, but that was no hindrance to the start of a budding relationship. This young man, Paul Anka, was working toward becoming a teen idol. He had already garnered some attention in 1955 following performances at the Ottawa Exhibition. Eventually he recorded his first record for the Modern label in Los Angeles. Even though the record wasn't a big hit, it fortified his resolve to not only be a recording star but also capture the heart of Diana. And what better way to do that than write a song about her.

In 1956, while at Paul's home, Diana heard the song, albeit just an instrumental. While it would appear that Diana was impressed, it seems that their love would continue unrequited. Undaunted, Paul soon found himself in New York, under the wing of Don Costa at ABC Paramount records. Diana would be the young man's breakthrough to stardom and would top the charts around the world.

Paul would go on to write and/or perform some of the biggest hits of the next three decades, from his own Puppy Love and Having My Baby, to the theme for the Tonight Show and the English language version of a French song called Comme d'habitude. You will know it better as Frank Sinatra's signature tune, My Way. Anka's version beat out a translation by none other than David Bowie, that had the title Even a Fool Learns to Love.

Meanwhile in the next province over, a Quebecois foursome, Les Clover Boys, latched onto what they saw as a good song. They had already scored hits with French versions of Long Tall Sally, Don't Forbid Me, and Butterfly. Diana was translated into French and the Montreal group recorded it for release on Quality becoming a hot in le belle province.

Leaping right over the USA, Les Clover Boys would find themselves providing music for and being featuring in the Mexican film Poker de Reinas. In 1959 they recorded an album for RCA Victor in Mexico, that featured not only a new English language recording of Diana, but a rocking version of Rock around the Clock. The album featured the boys not only singing in English, but also in Spanish, as well as their native French.

In the 1960s Paul Anka would leave ABC Paramount and sign with RCA Victor. He too would re-record Diana, albeit not in French. Les Clover Boys would also continue to record sporadically into the early 60s

As to Diana Ayoub, she stayed in the nations capitol, Ottawa. Her name however traveled around the world, thanks to the efforts of her suitor, and four lads from Quebec.

B Side
Les Clover Boys
Je t'aime Tant
B Side
Paul Anka
Don't Gamble With Love