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Used Modern rock historians have not been kind to Boone. Those who do not eliminate him from rock's history entirely, accuse him of being an agent in the suppression of true black music. The basis of these charges? Neither did "Hound Dog" originate with Elvis Presley. And cover versions affected white and black performers alike.

Yet Boone was held to a different standard than many other artists, and his phenomenal fame and perennial clean-cut image made him an easy target. Born Charles Eugene Boone in Jacksonville, Florida, in , the singer was nicknamed "Pat" because his parents were expecting a girl they planned to name Patricia. A genial southerner, Boone lettered in high school varsity sports, was elected student body president, and was voted most popular boy at Nashville's David Lipscomb High School.

Later he would transfer to Columbia University , graduating magna cum laude in All while nurturing a major career as a recording act and TV star. While in high school, Boone's piano teacher, Ruth Mallory, took an interest in young Pat's voice, and helped him gather valuable experience singing at talent contests, business luncheons, and local club meetings.

Boone's work for Republic featured big band brass and reeds, similar to Perry Como and Dean Martin's work from that era. But it was his move to Randy Wood's Dot label that marked the real start of Boone's recording career.

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From the birth of the recording industry through the heyday of the singer-songwriters of the s, the cover song was a common industry practice. It was not unusual for a dozen different versions of a hit song to be retooled for specific markets and audiences. His very popularity made Boone a lightning-rod for critics who felt he was somehow stealing a record out from under the original artists and reinforcing the inherent racism of the broadcast industry.

He did. Then once he picked those really good songs, we'd record.

We'd do three or four songs in a session and then put out the best one, sometimes the best two. If it was a hit and then we had two or three others, then we'd make an album. Like Presley's, many of Boone's records were two-sided hits, usually not by design. Boone's picture graced the cover of the August 19, , issue of Newsweek. The magazine crowed that at the age of 23, Boone had in two years cut a dozen singles selling over 13 million copies.

Meanwhile, Hollywood was offering the star a million dollars for a multi-picture deal.


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Among its pronouncements about Boone's career, Newsweek proclaimed the star's voice "quite unspectacular by any standards. Noting Boone's membership in the Church of Christ, the article reported that Boone adhered to church rules prohibiting smoking and drinking, though this cost him TV sponsorship by alcohol and tobacco companies.

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Pat Boone - Biography - IMDb

Newsweek reported that "even TV columnists, notoriously tough nuts to crack, respect him. Why, this boy is the new Bing [Crosby]. Boone's string of major hits ended with the novelty number "Speedy Gonzalez," which featured vocal characterizations of the cartoon mouse by voice-acting legend Mel Blanc.

By that time Boone had become a household name and had branched out from singing and film acting to writing and TV work. Boone's status as "the good Elvis," brandishing a smile instead of a sneer and wearing his signature white buck shoes, qualified him to publish a teenage advice book, 'Twixt Twelve and Twenty. The book, a number one best-seller, spawned a companion volume titled Between You, Me and the Gatepost , which appeared in Ironically, Boone's own marital life fell prey to difficulty. In his autobiography, A New Song , in a chapter entitled "The Darkest Hour," Boone revealed that though his wife had given up drinking, smoking, and dancing at his insistence, he himself had gradually acquired all these habits as a Las Vegas performer—and had picked up gambling as well.

In the late s, however, in an emotional confession before a church congregation, Boone began a new life as a born-again Christian, and his wife soon joined him. In Boone's year contract with Dot Records expired, and he was poised to sign with comedian and television star Bill Cosby 's Tetragrammaton label.

Pat Boone Reflects on Life as a Christian in Hollywood

However, Boone had reservations about the contract, and no formal contract was drawn up, which turned out to be fortunate for Boone because a few months later the label folded after Cosby departed. By Boone had fathered three daughters, and a fourth arrived the following year. Debby Boone became famous as a singer in her own right, earning Grammys in and for best inspirational performance.

The song "You Light up My Life" made her an overnight sensation. By contrast, her father has never been nominated for a Grammy. Toward the end of the decade he signed with Motown's short-lived country label, Hitsville, and explored country music in albums such as Country Love and The Country Side of Pat Boone. During the disco craze, he went so far as to double-track his voice on a set of pop standards that actually found favor with one record company executive.

Before a deal could be inked, trade publications announced that disco was dead, and the project died on the vine. The always active Boone did not limit himself to singing. The rise of religious networks on cable television kept the singer-actor in the public eye during the 's and s by showing his Pat Boone USA and Gospel America programs. An activist for conservative Christian causes, Boone even threatened his own credibility with his core demographic when he recorded an album of Heavy Metal songs done big band style, titled In a Metal Mood: No More Mr.

Nice Guy. Dressed in a leather vest without a shirt, and sporting sunglasses, Boone presented a terrific sight gag. However, his employers at the Christian Broadcasting Network failed to see the humor.