The singer-songwriter responsible for Johnny Carson's Tonight show theme and Frank Sinatra's "My Way" has been recognized for co-writing one of the year's most anticipated new songs, Michael Jackson's "This Is It."
Hours after the song's release, Paul Anka recognized it as one he co-wrote with Jackson — though no one had contacted him about it, and he hadn't received credit. He notified the Jackson estate, which agreed within just a few hours to give him 50 percent of the song's profits.
Then Anka and one of Jackson's executors realized Jackson recorded another Anka song, too.
"It's an incredible back story. You know, obviously, a mistake was made. It's all ended well," Anka told TVGuide.com in a telephone interview from his home Tuesday. "They were solid citizens about it."
The 68-year-old former teen idol said he's especially happy the issue was resolved in "record time by Hollywood standards."
Anka said he and Jackson co-wrote the song in 1983 for an album Anka was working on, but the two had a falling out. (Singer Sa-Fire recorded a version of the song, with the title "I Never Heard," in 1991.)
"This Is It" was released at midnight Sunday. On Monday, fans thought they heard similarities, and bloggers and reporters quickly picked up on them.
When Anka heard the song, "I said, 'There are no similarities, it's the same damn song.'"
He said he was happy Jackson's estate agreed. John McClain, a record executive who's also an executor of Jackson's estate, played him some other songs from Jackson's 26-year-old tapes, one of which made Anka blurt out: "That's mine, too."