Arranger/producer Don Costa's catalog of work is sprinkled with names like Paul Anka, Sammy Davis, Jr. ("Candy Man," gold, co-produced with Mike Curb, from the Gene Wilder movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), Frank Sinatra, James Darren, Eddy Arnold, Vic Damone, Donny Osmond ("Young Love," the B-side of his cover of "A Million to One"), Marv Johnson, Trini Lopez ("If I Had a Hammer"), Kenny Rankin (The Kenny Rankin Album), Lloyd Price ("Stagger Lee," gold, number one R&B for four weeks, number one pop for four weeks, and "(You've Got) Personality," gold, number one R&B for four weeks, number two pop for three weeks, spring 1959), among many others.
Costa, who was born in Boston, MA, on June 10, 1925, had some of his biggest successes with Paul Anka, including the singer's two number one hits, the million-sellers "Diana" (number one pop, number one R&B for two weeks), and "Lonely Boy" (number one pop for four weeks, number six R&B). Anka had won a trip to Manhattan after winning a soup wrapper collection contest from Campbell's Soup. After being enthralled with the city, Anka, a songwriter and aspiring recording artist, borrowed money from his father to return to the bustling music center.
His first stop was the offices of ABC-Paramount Records where he met with Costa. After listening to Anka's four songs, Costa told the teenager to send for his parents so that they could sign the recording contract. "Diana" and "Lonely Boy" were included on Paul Anka Sings His Big 15, which peaked at number four pop on Billboard's charts in summer 1960. After a long and successful career, Don Costa died in New York in 1983.
Don Costa's work can be found on Lloyd Price Sings His Big Ten, The Very Best Of Bobby Sherman, Rhino's Best of James Darren, The Best Of Eddy Arnold, Yesterday and Today: A Celebration in Song by Perry Como, Best Of Robert Goulet,The Best Of The Highwaymen, Very Best Of Lou Monte, Greatest Hits by Marie Osmond, Peaceful: The Best of Kenny Rankin, and on his own Never on Sunday: Classic Movie Music of the 50's & 60's. ~ Ed Hogan, Rovi