About the song
If you are a fan of classic pop songs, you probably know the romantic tune “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” by Paul Anka. But do you know the history behind this timeless hit? In this blog post, we will explore how Anka wrote and recorded the song, how it became a chart-topper, and how it influenced other artists and trends.
Paul Anka was one of the most successful teenage singers of the ’50s who wrote his own songs. He had his first #1 hit with “Diana” in 1957, when he was only 16 years old. He followed up with other popular songs like “Lonely Boy” and “You Are My Destiny”. But he wanted to write a song that captured the feeling of being at a dance party and getting close to someone you liked.
He said: “When I was playing record hops, I noticed that everybody’s head was on somebody else’s shoulder. I had never heard a song that expressed that feeling, so one night I went back to my hotel room and wrote ‘Put Your Head on My Shoulder.'”
Anka recorded the song in August 1958 at Bell Sound Studios in New York City, three weeks before he recorded “Lonely Boy”. It was arranged and conducted by Don Costa, who also worked with Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. The song was released as a single on August 17, 1959, by ABC-Paramount as catalog number 4510040. The B-side was “Don’t Ever Leave Me”.
The song was an instant hit, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 (kept out of the #1 spot by Bobby Darin’s recording of “Mack the Knife”). It was his third top five hit of 1959. In Canada, the song reached #4 on the CHUM Charts. The song also charted in Belgium, Netherlands, UK, and West Germany.
The song has been covered by many artists over the years, including The Lettermen, Enrique Guzman, Derek Redfern, Leif Garrett, and Doja Cat. It also inspired a similar song by The Beach Boys called “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)” on their Pet Sounds album in 1966. In 2021, a mash-up of the first 12 seconds of this song and part of Doja Cat’s “Streets” became a TikTok challenge known as the “Silhouette Challenge”.
“Put Your Head on My Shoulder” is a song that has stood the test of time and continues to touch people’s hearts with its simple yet sweet message. It is a testament to Paul Anka’s talent and vision as a songwriter and singer. As he said: “Put your head on my shoulder – that was your objective that weekend. To get her to get the head on the shoulder, maybe get a kiss and get your hand in her blouse. All that I understood.”