Pat Boone

  • Pop Singer/Crooner born in 1934 in Jacksonville Florida.
  • Boone’s family moved to Nashville when he was two years old. His great-great-great-great grandfather was frontiersman Daniel Boone. His earliest singing performances were at Nashville’s Centennial Park. While attending college in North Texas, he performed at a local talent show, winning a chance to appear on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour on television. His performance there led to a recurring role singing on The Arthur Godfrey and His Friends variety television show, and the exposure led to a recording contract.
  • In 1954, he released his first single, and in 1956 his debut album, the self-titled Pat Boone, was released. Boone soon became a sort of “Anti-Elvis” – while nearly as popular as Presley, his squeaky clean persona, perfectly groomed hair and gleaming white smile was a safe alternative for parents and teens alike who viewed Presley’s rock and roll as debauchery.
  • Several of Boone’s earliest hits were covers of songs originally done by black rock and roll or R&B artists. His versions appealed to white audiences who preferred Boone’s approach to music – focused on crooning and not on gyrations. From 1955 to 1957, he had twelve top 10 hits, with Ain’t That a Shame (a cover of a Fats Domino song), I Almost Lost My Mind (originally by black artist Ivory Joe Hunter), Don’t Forbid Me, Love Letters In the Sand and April Love topping the Hot 100 chart.
  • By 1957, he was a leading actor in films. His earliest films were musicals, but by 1959 he also was cast in dramatic roles. In total, he performed in over 25 films, including his most recent film, The Mulligan, at 88 years old. He also hosted his own television show from 1957 to 1960 – The Pat Boone-Chevy Showroom was a variety show that ran for 115 episodes. In 1959, his likeness was licensed to DC Comics, who issued a series of five comics about him.
  • He continued his success as a recording star in the early 60s. From 1960 to 1963, he had over 20 charting singles, including #1 hit Moody River and #6 hit Speedy Gonzales. Boone’s popularity quickly faded with the British Invasion. Despite this, he continued to record, releasing 18 studio albums from 1964 to 1969. As the decade progressed, his music moved toward country and gospel music. He regularly performed Contemporary Christian concerts with his wife and four daughters (including Debby Boone, who would have her own #1 hit You Light Up My Life in 1977), and by the 70s, nearly all of his output was gospel-related.
  • Boone was a prolific author. His first book, Twixt Twelve and Twenty: Pat Talks to Teenagers was published in 1958, and the book of advice on how to be a good teenager became a best seller. His later books were about Christianity – he published over 25 books between 1958 and 2009.
  • Boone released 72 studio albums over the years. Much of them were gospel albums, but in 1997 he released an album titled In A Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy. It featured Boone singing heavy metal songs in a jazz/big band style. Just imagine – Pat Boone singing Metallica’s Enter Sandman, Deep Purple’s Smoke On the Water, Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train, and nine other hard rock classics. He appeared at the American Music Awards wearing black leather clothes with temporary tattoos on his body. Soon after, he was fired from his Trinity Broadcasting Network program Gospel America.
  • You can mock Pat Boone if you want to, but he was a mega-star in his early days, behind only Elvis on the Billboard charts in the late 50s. When Billboard published their list of Top 100 Top 40 Artists from 1955 to 1995, Boone was #9 on that list, with 38 songs in the Top 40. No, he’s not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but he is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. In 1957, he starred in the musical film April Love, and the title song topped the charts, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Here is Boone performing April Love on his variety show – cue the screaming girls at the end!

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