Paul Anka opens up to Closer Weekly in an exclusive interview where he recalls fondly the time he spent with the infamous “Rat Pack.”

As a teen Paul burst onto the scene with hits “Diana,” “Puppy Love,” “Put Your Head on My Shoulder,” and at 76, he’s still the only artist to have a Billboard Top 100 song through seven consecutive decades. He’s sung with the Rat Pack, penned Frank Sinatra‘s classic “My Way,” and still tours. “I tell people: I don’t have a job. I have a passion,” Paul tells Closer.

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Frank Sinatra.

Paul opens up about what it was like to be one of the youngest ever to play with the Rat Pack: “Me, Bobby Darin, and a couple of others started in pop music, and we wanted to test ourselves: How are we going to evolve? The Beatles hadn’t hit yet, so the Rat Pack were the only guys to emulate.”

“Hanging out with them in the steam room, socializing, they knew exactly who they were, and acquired wisdom to deal with their success,” Paul tells Closer. “But they had a soft side. Frank [Sinatra] would say, “If I could just get another hit…” Which led to Paul writing the hit “My Way” for him.

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The Rat Pack.

“I was 26, 27. [Frank and I] were having dinner in Florida and he told me he was quitting — he was being hassled, had all kinds of things going against him, but he wanted to do one last album. I realized that if I wanted to write for him, it had to be now. I wrote it the way he talked — ‘spit it out,'” Paul adds, “when the record company found I’d written it, they were kinda pissed off that I didn’t do it myself!” Paul says.

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