Author photo

By Steven Lieberman
Observer Reporter 

February is the month to relive the past musical classics at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts


February 2, 2023

The Jacksons

Three big concerts are coming to the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.

Internationally-famous singer/songwriter Paul Anka will need no introduction when he takes the stage on February 3rd to sing all of his greatest hits.

In 1957, when Anka was a 16 year old teenager, his first number one hit, "Diana," made him a star. Soon after, he hopped on the "Cavalcade of Stars" bus with top names of the day in the era of segregation, performing at the Copa Cabana, the youngest entertainer ever to do so, and honing his craft surrounded by the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Frankie Lyman, and Chuck Berry.

"They are all very autobiographical," says Anka about his early hits. "I was alone, traveling, girls screaming, and I never got near them. I'm a teenager and feeling isolated and all that. That becomes (his song) 'Lonely Boy.' At record hops, I'm up on stage and all these kids are holding each other with heads on each other's shoulders. Then I have to go have dinner in my room because there are thousands of kids outside the hotel -- 'Put Your Head on My Shoulder' was totally that experience."

By the time the Beatles arrived in the sixties, Anka luckily had another tool in his survival kit. Many artists didn't survive the Beatles era. "After a few hits, I knew I was a writer, and with writers, the power was always in the pen," he said. "When I started writing for Buddy Holly and Connie Francis, I felt that it made me different for people -- they'd say, 'Hey, you can write, you can fall back on something."

Becoming a junior associate of Sinatra and the Rat Pack also had its privileges. By the '70's, the success of "My Way," a song he wrote for Sinatra, and a string of hits like "(You're) Having My Baby" confirmed his status as an icon of popular music. His other achievements -- the theme for The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, Tom Jones big hit, "She's a Lady," and "Hold Me 'Til the Morning Comes," a duet with Peter Cetera in 1983, among many others.

In 1998, Anka's album, "Body of Work," featured duets with Sinatra, Celine Dion, Patti LaBelle, and Tom Jones.

It was revealed upon its release in 2009, that Anka also co-wrote Michael Jackson's posthumous number one worldwide hit, "This is It," which has further cemented his place upon the most prolific and versatile songwriters of any generation.

And now, you can add author to his list of accomplishments and read his book, "My Way: An Autobiography."

And then, on February 5th, Kool & the Gang make an appearance.

With a winning blend of jazz, R&B, funk, and pop, they have earned American Music Awards, a BET Soul Train Lifetime Achievement Award, a Grammy for Open Sesame, and an impressive string of gold and platinum albums.

Their big hits include "Celebration," "Ladies Night," "Jungle Boogie," "Get Down on It," and the latest, "Pursuit of Happiness."

Paul Anka

Original members Robert "Kool" Bell, his brother Ronald Bell, percussionist George Brown, and Dennis "D.T." Thomas continue the tradition that began in 1969 and rocked the music world.

Finally, carrying the torch for their fallen brother, Michael, The Jacksons, featuring Jackie, Tito, and Marlon will perform on February 24th.

One of the most recognizable families in music history, they transformed Motown and pop with a litany of hits, including "ABC," "I Want You Back," "I'll Be There," and "Rockin' Robin."

Be ready for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees to deliver their hits and famous dance moves.

For more information and to buy tickets, go to:


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