Thursday Inspiration — Lonely Boy

For this week’s Thursday Inspiration post from Jim Adams, he gave us the image above and the word “lonely.” My mind immediately took me to the 1959 Paul Anka song, “Lonely Boy.”

Anka had a talent for writing about the teenage experience in the 50s. “I was a lonely boy and I’d see these lonely boys at all these hops,” he said in the cover notes on his Greatest Hits album.

Anka was just 16 in 1957 when his song “Diana” topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, making him an international star. He quickly became one of the biggest stars of the late ’50s. But he felt there was something missing. “In moving around so much, I never had time to spend with the people really close to me,” he said. “I wanted to experience more than just the success syndrome.

In this song, Anka revealed that, despite his success, he was still lonely: “I’ve got everything you could think of / But all I want is someone to love.” He said, “I was reaching out, saying, ‘Hey, I want somebody to share this with me.’”

When I was researching this song, I came across another song by the same name. Andrew Gold had an international hit with his song, “Lonely Boy,” in 1977. It spent five months on the American charts, peaking at number seven in both Canada and the United States, and number 11 in the United Kingdom.

Gold’s “Lonely Boy” is about the life of a child who is neglected by his parents after the birth of a younger sister. Many assume this song was autobiographical, yet Gold has denied this, despite great similarities between the lyrics and Gold’s own life. The lyric, “He was born on a summer day in 1951” matches Gold’s August 1951 birthday, and “In the summer of ‘53 his mother / Brought him a sister” matches his sister’s birthday.”

Which “Lonely Boy” song do you like better?

15 thoughts on “Thursday Inspiration — Lonely Boy

  1. newepicauthor October 20, 2022 / 2:25 pm

    I knew the Andrew Gold song better than the Paul Anka one and I guess that is because it came later. Thanks for joining in with this lovely music and for explaining the meaning behind these songs, Fandango.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. bushboy October 20, 2022 / 10:06 pm

    Paul Anka version is great. I love the R&B swing sound.
    In the Andrew Gold version the lead guitar breaks are way out of sync with rest of the piano pounding so not the best

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Marleen October 21, 2022 / 2:52 am

    I can listen to some of this sort of music — my pick is Anka — for an extended time, but haven’t for a long long long while. Paul Anka, I just found out, put the following song on an album, but I can’t find it as a YouTube single of him. (Humperdinck is apparently still touring, but this isn’t Humperdinck, from whom I would pick maybe Quando, Quando, Quando or The Last Waltz.)

    A Man Without Love

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Maria Michaela October 21, 2022 / 5:52 am

    I know of Paul Anka’s but I listened to Gold’s on this video you shared, and although his song has a lively tune, it seems more sad. I love both songs though.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. leigha66 October 29, 2022 / 6:25 pm

    Both are good songs, but Andrew Gold’s is one I have always loved.

    Liked by 1 person

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