Rock Swings

I bought an album the other day, essentially as a joke, thinking it would be good for a laugh. Turns out it’s great.

Check out the Paul Anka album, “Rock Swings.” Paul Anka, best known for hits in the early 60’s like “Put Your Head On My Shoulder,” and the theme from “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” is still around, and man, he’s still sounding fantastic.

The album contains over a dozen superbly-engineered tracks of Anka singing big band arrangements of rock songs like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Eye of the Tiger.” I thought, “this sounds like it’ll be funny,” but although some of it will make you smile, it’s largely because it works so surprisingly well. My personal favorite is Anka’s rendition of “It’s My Life” — originally by Bon Jovi.

Anka still sounds great, and the arrangements — by Randy Kerber, Patrick Williams, and John Clayton — are unbelievable. The Washington Post seems to agree. (The only real misstep, to my ear, is the beginning of “Jump.”)

So pour yourself a martini, head over to the iTunes Music Store, and buy this album.

And I’m being totally serious.


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