Blast from the Past: Paul Anka “Rock Swings”

If you went to the Olive Garden recently and used the restroom, chances are you heard some nice, swinging tunes.

If you listened carefully, you may have noticed that Paul Anka was crooning about teen spirit over that tender brass section, because you were hearing Rock Swings, the epic 2005 album that was tastefully chosen as the official restroom soundtrack at the Olive Garden nationwide.

This album earned Anka a star on the Canadian walk of fame, rightfully so. It got a harrowing three star review from Rolling Stone magazine, not to mention, they play it in the bathroom at Olive Garden.

Many classic tunes, like “Eye of the Tiger” and “Wonderwall” sound nothing like the original, and the only piece of recognition are the lyrics, which are a sonic representation of cultural misunderstanding.

You have heard every song that Paul Anka covers on this record before, and you did not ask to hear them in a jazz lounge style, nor did you ever wonder what Nirvana may sound like with a brass section and crooning vocals.

As one commenter on YouTube pointed out, “I bet Kurt Cobain is swinging in heaven right now.”

For almost 60 minutes, you can enjoy blissful reconfigurations of songs that you have not listened to since your fifth grade class trip to the ice rink. But now, you can listen to them while you are in the bathroom at the Olive Garden.

Or at home. Or in the car. Or with your family, as I did over Thanksgiving break. Finally, you can make songs that were hard for your grandparents to listen to hard for everyone to listen to!

Happy swinging.

Standout Tracks:

  • “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
  • “Wonderwall”
  • “Eye of the Tiger”
  • “Black Hole Sun”

By Jacob Newman