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Pat Boone (born June 1, 1934) is an American singer, actor and writer who was a successful pop singer in the United States during the 1950s and early 1960s. He covered black artists' songs in a time of segregation and sold more copies than his black counterparts. He sold over 45 million albums, had 38 Top 40 hits and starred in more than 12 Hollywood movies. Boone's talent as a singer and actor, combined with his old-fashioned values, contributed to his popularity in the early rock and roll era. He continues to entertain and perform, and is also a motivational speaker, a television personality, a conservative political commentator, a Republican, and a Christian activist, writer and preacher.

Boone was successful in multiple ways. At the age of twenty-three, he began hosting a half-hour ABC variety television series, The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom, which aired for 115 episodes on Thursday evenings from 1957–1960, following the popular sitcom, The Real McCoys, starring Walter Brennan. Many musical performers, including Edie Adams, Andy Williams, African American performers Pearl Bailey and Johnny Mathis, made at least one appearance on The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom. A prolific author, Boone had a No. 1 bestseller in the 1950s (Twixt Twelve and Twenty, Prentice-Hall). His cover versions of rhythm and blues hits had a noticeable effect on the development of the broad popularity of rock and roll. During his tours in the 1950s, Elvis Presley was one of his opening acts.

According to Billboard, Boone was the second biggest charting artist of the late 1950s, behind only Elvis Presley but ahead of Ricky Nelson and The Platters, and was ranked at No. 9—behind The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney but ahead of artists such as Aretha Franklin and The Beach Boys - in its listing of the Top 100 Top 40 Artists 1955-1995.

In the 1960s, he focused on gospel music and is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Boone still holds the Billboard record for spending 220 consecutive weeks on the charts with more than one song.

Early life and career

Born Charles Eugene Boone in Jacksonville, Florida, Boone was reared primarily in Nashville, Tennessee, a place he still visits. His family moved to Nashville from Florida when Boone was two years old. He attended and graduated from David Lipscomb High School in Nashville in 1952. Boone grew up as a Christian in the Church of Christ, which sponsors Lipscomb University in Nashville. The handprints of Pat Boone in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.

Boone has claimed to be a direct descendant of the American pioneer Daniel Boone. He is also a cousin of two stars of western television series: the late Richard Boone of CBS's Have Gun, Will Travel and Randy Boone, one of the co-stars of NBC's The Virginian and CBS's Cimarron Strip.

In college, he primarily attended David Lipscomb College, later Lipscomb University, in Nashville. He graduated from Columbia University School of General Studies magna cum laude in 1958 and also attended North Texas State University, now known as the University of North Texas. During his college career, he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order.

He began recording in 1954 for Republic Records. His 1955 version of Fats Domino's "Ain't That a Shame" was a hit. This set the stage for the early part of Boone's career, which focused on covering R&B songs by black artists for a white American market. Randy Wood, the owner of Dot, had issued an R & B single by the Griffin Brothers in 1951 called "Tra La La-a"—a different song than the later LaVern Baker one—and he was keen to put out another version after the original had failed. This became the B side of the first Boone single "Two Hearts Two Kisses", originally by the Charms - whose "Hearts Of Stone" had been covered by the label's Fontane Sisters. Once the Boone version was in the shops, it spawned more covers by the Crewcuts, Doris Day and Frank Sinatra. In the UK the song was covered by Lita Roza, a band singer with Ted Heath, and her version was in the shops first.

A No. 1 single in 1956 by Boone was not so much a cover as a revival of a then-seven year old song "I Almost Lost My Mind", which had been covered at the time by another black star, Nat King Cole, from the original by Ivory Joe Hunter, who was to benefit from Boone's hit version not only in royalties but in status as he was back in the news.

According to an opinion poll of high school students in 1957, the singer was nearly the "two-to-one favorite over Elvis Presley among boys and preferred almost three-to-one by girls..."[7]

Many of Boone's hit singles were R&B covers. These included: "Ain't That a Shame" by Fats Domino; "Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard;[1] "At My Front Door (Crazy Little Mama)" by the El Dorados; and the blues ballads "I Almost Lost My Mind" by Ivory Joe Hunter, "I'll be Home" by The Flamingos and "Don't Forbid Me" by Charles Singleton. Boone also wrote the lyrics for the instrumental theme song for the movie Exodus, which lyrics he titled "This Land Is Mine." (Ernest Gold had composed the music.)

As a devout Christian, Boone refused songs and movie roles that he felt might compromise his standards—including a role with sex symbol Marilyn Monroe. In his first film, April Love, he refused to give co-star and love interest Shirley Jones an onscreen kiss, because the actress was married in real life.

He appeared as a regular performer on Arthur Godfrey and his Friends from 1955 through 1957, later hosted his own The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom, on Thursday evenings. In the early 1960s, he began writing a series of self-help books for adolescents, including Twixt Twelve and Twenty. The British Invasion ended Boone's career as a hitmaker, though he continued recording throughout the 1960s. In the 1970s, he switched to gospel and country, and he continued performing in other media as well. He is currently working as the disc jockey of a popular oldies radio show and runs his own record company which provides an outlet for new recordings by 1950s greats who can no longer find a place with the major labels.

In 1953, shortly before he turned 19, Boone married Shirley Lee Foley (b. April 24, 1934), daughter of country music great Red Foley and his wife, singer Judy Martin. They had four daughters: Cheryl Lynn, Linda Lee, Deborah Ann (better known as Debby), and Laura Gene. During the late 1950s, he made regular appearances on ABC-TV's Ozark Jubilee, hosted by his father-in-law. In the 1960s and 1970s the Boone family toured as gospel singers and made gospel albums, such as The Pat Boone Family and The Family Who Prays.

In the early 1970s, Boone founded the record label Lion & Lamb Records. It featured artists such as Pat, The Pat Boone Family, Debby Boone, Dan Peek, DeGarmo & Key, and Dogwood.

In 1978, Boone became the first target in the Federal Trade Commission's crackdown on false claim product endorsements by celebrities. He had appeared with his daughter Debby in a commercial to claim that all four of his daughters had found a preparation named Acne-Statin a "real help" in keeping their skin clear. The FTC filed a complaint against the manufacturer, contending that the product did not really keep skin free of blemishes. Boone eventually signed a consent order in which he promised not only to stop appearing in the ads but to pay about 2.5% of any money that the FTC or the courts might eventually order the manufacturer to refund to consumers. Boone said, through a lawyer, that his daughters actually did use Acne-Statin, and that he was "dismayed to learn that the product's efficacy had not been scientifically established as he believed."[10]

Religion

Pat Boone was raised in the Church of Christ.

In the 1960s, Boone's marriage nearly came to an end. While he was living a double-life of alcohol and partying, Shirley had a revival of faith, through a charismatic encounter. She would eventually lead Pat and their daughters to awakenings of their own. At this time, they attended the Inglewood Church of Christ in Inglewood, California.

In the early 1970s, the Boones hosted Bible studies for celebrities such as Doris Day, Glenn Ford, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Priscilla Presley, at their Beverly Hills home. The family then began attending The Church On The Way in Van Nuys, California—a Foursquare Gospel congregation led by pastor Jack Hayford.

Recent career

In 1997, Boone released In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy, a collection of heavy metal covers. To promote the album, he appeared at the American Music Awards in black leather. He was then dismissed from "Gospel America," a TV show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. After making a special appearance on TBN with the president of the network, Paul Crouch, and his pastor, Jack Hayford, many fans accepted his explanation of the leather outfit being a "parody of himself". Trinity Broadcasting then reinstated him, and "Gospel America" was brought back.

In 2003, the Nashville Gospel Music Association recognized his gospel recording work by inducting him into its Gospel Music Hall of Fame. In September 2006, Boone released Pat Boone R&B Classics - We Are Family, featuring cover versions of 11 R&B hits, including the title track, plus "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag", "Soul Man", "Get Down Tonight", "A Woman Needs Love", and six other classics. In 2007, Boone was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame as well as the Christian Music Hall of Fame.

Boone and his wife, Shirley, live in Los Angeles. His one-time neighbor was Ozzy Osbourne and his family. A sound-alike of Boone's cover of Osbourne's song "Crazy Train" became the theme song for The Osbournes (Though the original Boone version appears on The Osbournes soundtrack). Osbourne once said that Boone "was the nicest bloke you could ever have as a neighbour and never complained once" about living next door to their less-than-traditional family.

Philanthropy

Since 1977, Boone has hosted the annual Pat Boone Golf Tournament in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a celebrity event in May that benefits Bethel Bible Village, a faith-based home for children of families in crisis.[citation needed] He is known to play golf frequently in Branson, Missouri.

According to the Nashville Gospel Music & Entertainment Examiner, Boone partnered with GOD TV in 2010 to provide foundational funding for a community development center in East Africa. The Pat Boone Family Life Center in Loiborsoit, Tanzania provides much needed health services and clean water through a deep water well. GOD TV CEO, Rory Alec said "We are privileged to partner with Pat and Shirley Boone to impact the everyday lives of several thousand Maasai people. Pat Boone is just as well known for his artistic talents as his Christian faith and the generosity of the Boone family has inspired us to reach further to help bring about transformation in Africa." [12]

"Clean water, and with it small medical clinics and even basic primary and secondary schools, are literally life-changing developments, offering healthy lives and unthought-of futures to countless thousands who otherwise would live and die with no chance even to participate in the 21st century," Boone wrote in an article about his trip to Africa, in WorldNetDaily.

Politics

Boone campaigned for Ronald Reagan to become Governor of California in 1966 and 1970, and actively supported Reagan's bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 1976. He was a vocal supporter of the Vietnam War. In 2006, Boone wrote an article for WorldNetDaily, in which he argued that Democrats and others who were against the president during the Iraq War could be questioned for their patriotism.[14] He was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on Fox News, where he expressed his outrage toward opponents of George W. Bush (in particular the Dixie Chicks). He said that their criticisms of the president showed they did not "respect their elders".[15] Another article defended Mel Gibson after the actor was recorded making an antisemitic rant.

In early 2007, Boone wrote two articles claiming that the theory of evolution is an "absurd," "nonsensical" "bankrupt false religion". He later wrote an editorial in the form of a fairy tale where a young Prince Charming was seduced by a dwarf, got AIDS, and then overdosed.

In the 2007 Kentucky gubernatorial election, Boone campaigned for incumbent Republican Ernie Fletcher with a prerecorded automated telephone message stating that the Democratic Party candidate Steve Beshear would support "every homosexual cause." As part of the campaign, Boone asked, "Now do you want a governor who'd like Kentucky to be another San Francisco?" More recently, he assisted the McCain 2008 presidential campaign by lending his voice to automated campaign phonecalls.

On December 6, 2008 Boone wrote an article for WorldNetDaily wherein he drew analogies between recent gay rights protests and recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. He reminded readers of hostage taking, exploding bombs systematic murder and chaotic conditions of carnage. In it, he asserted that marriage is a biblically ordained institution, which the government has no part in defining. He then stated that equal rights for women and blacks were not "obtained by threats and violent demonstrations and civil disruption" but rather through due process. He concluded by warning that unless they're checked, the "hedonistic, irresponsible, blindly selfish goals and tactics of homegrown sexual jihadists will escalate into acts vile, violent and destructive".

On August 29, 2009, Boone wrote an article comparing liberals to cancer, describing them as "black filthy cells". In December 2009, Boone agreed to endorse the conservative U.S. congressional candidate John Wayne Tucker(R) for his campaign in Missouri's 3rd Congressional District against incumbent Russ Carnahan(D) for the 2010 mid term elections.

As Chevrolet spokesman

Boone's well-groomed, clean-cut, boyish image won him a long-term product endorsement contract from General Motors during the late 1950s, lasting through the 1960s. He succeeded Dinah Shore singing the praises of the GM product: "See the USA in your Chevrolet...drive your Chevrolet through the USA, America's the greatest land of all!" GM had also sponsored The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom. In the 1989 documentary Roger & Me, Boone stated that he first was given a Corvette from the Chevrolet product line, but after he and wife started having children, at one child a year, GM supplied him with a station wagon as well. Boone, who has endorsed an indeterminate number of products and services over the course of his career, said that more people identified him with Chevrolet than any other product.[citation needed]

Basketball interests

Boone was a basketball fan and had ownership interests in two teams. He owned a team in the Hollywood Studio League called the "Cooga Moogas." The Cooga Moogas included Bill Cosby, Rafer Johnson, Gardner McKay, Don Murray, and Denny "Tarzan" Miller.

With the founding of the American Basketball Association, Boone became the majority owner of the league's team in Oakland, California on February 2, 1967. The team was first named the Oakland Americans but was later renamed as the Oakland Oaks, the name under which it played from 1967 to 1969. The Oaks won the 1969 ABA championship.

Despite the Oaks' success on the court, the team had severe financial problems. By August 1969 the Bank of America was threatening to foreclose on a $1.2 million loan to the Oaks, and the team was sold to a group of businessmen in Washington, DC, and became the Washington Caps.

In Terry Pluto's book about the ABA, Loose Balls, Boone recounted his days as an owner and claimed that he had had a chance to buy into the then-expansion Dallas Mavericks of the NBA in 1981, but declined.

Discography

Oh dear god

Filmography

  • 1955 The Pied Piper of Cleveland (documentary)
  • 1957 Bernardine
  • 1957 April Love
  • 1958 Mardi Gras
  • 1959 Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • 1961 All Hands on Deck
  • 1962 State Fair
  • 1962 The Main Attraction
  • 1963 The Horror of It All
  • 1963 The Yellow Canary
  • 1964 Never Put It in Writing
  • 1964 Goodbye Charlie
  • 1965 The Greatest Story Ever Told
  • 1967 The Perils of Pauline
  • 1970 The Cross and the Switchblade
  • 1989 Roger & Me (documentary)
  • 2000 The Eyes of Tammy Faye (documentary)
  • 2008 Hollywood on Fire (documentary)

Bibliography

  • Twixt Twelve and Twenty: Pat talks to Teenagers (1958) Prentice Hall
  • The Solution to Crisis-America (1970) F. H. Revell Co, ISBN 0800780817
  • A Miracle Saved My Family (1971) Oliphants, ISBN 0551006404
  • The Real Christmas (1972) F. H. Revell Co, ISBN 0800705467
  • Joy! (1973) Creation House, ISBN 0884190609
  • My Brother's Keeper? (1975) Victory Press, ISBN 085476237X
  • My Faith (1976) C. R. Gibson Co, ISBN 0837817641
  • To Be or Not to Be an SOB: A Reaffirmation of Business Ethics (1979) Wordware Publishing, Incorporated, ISBN 0890157375
  • The Honeymoon Is Over (1980) Creation House, ISBN 0884191303
  • Marrying for Life: A Handbook of Marriage Skills (1982) HarperCollins Publishers, ISBN 0866836748
  • Pray to Win (1982) Putnam Pub Group, ISBN 0399124942
  • Pat Boone's Favorite Bible Stories (1984) Creation House, ISBN 0884192458
  • Pat Boone's Favorite Bible Stories for the Very Young (1984) Random House of Canada, Limited, ISBN 0394858913
  • A Miracle a Day Keeps the Devil Away (1986) Revell, ISBN 0800706935
  • New Song (1988) Impact Books, ISBN 0866080031
  • Miracle of Prayer (1989) Zondervan, ISBN 0310221315
  • The Human Touch: The Story of the National Easter Seal (1990) Certification Review, ISBN 0914373226
  • Jesus Is Alive (1990) Thomas Nelson Inc, ISBN 155894219X
  • Double Agent (2002) Publish America, Incorporated, ISBN 159129469X
  • Goodnight, Whatever You Are!: My Journey with Zacherley, the Cool Ghoul (2006) Tradeselect Limited, ISBN 1933384034
  • Pat Boone's America: A Pop Culture Treasury of the Past Fifty Years (2006) B&H Publishing Group, ISBN 0805443762
  • Culture-Wise Family: Upholding Christian Values in A Mass-Media World (2007) Gospel Light Publications, ISBN 0830743553
  • The Marriage Game (2007) New Leaf Press, Inc., ISBN 0892211148
  • Questions About God: And the Answers That Could Change Your Life (2008) Lighthouse Publishing, ISBN 1935079131
  • Pat Boone Devotional Book (2009) G. K. Hall, ISBN 0816166307

Boone wrote Questions About God with reporter, Cord Cooper. He told The 700 Club in 2009, "The big question is there a God? Is God real? How do we know? Is there proof? So this fella, Cord Cooper, and I decided we needed to answer three basic questions in a very simple form, but I think substantively and really bares no rational refutation... We quote Einstein and Steven Hawking, who is still living, the most brilliant man on the planet. As they say, it’s inconceivable that all this has happened without a plan, without a blueprint, without some designer who created the design. So this book is so simple, yet I think profound truth."

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