Charles Eugene Patrick was born in 1934 in Jacksonville, Florida, USA. He grew up in Nashville, Tennessee with his singing hero, Bing Crosby. He was raised in the conservative Church of Christ which did not inhibit him from pursuing a recording career. Pat won a local talent show and appeared on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour (TV), leading to a year-long tenure on The Arthur Godfrey Show. In 1954, Boone made his first recordings for the small Republic label, followed a year later by his Dot Records debut "Two Hearts, Two Kisses."
When “The Kid in White Buck Shoes” (reference to his strong Christian beliefs), released a cover version of "Ain't That a Shame" (Fats Domino) it was a huge hit in 1955.
Pat Boone’s version got extensive radio play on predominantly white radio stations which had mass appeal to middle class white kids and their parents. His softer cover versions of original black R&B hits proved financially very successful. Pat Boone released "Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally" (Little Richard), "At My Front Door (Crazy Little Mama)" (The El Dorados), "I Almost Lost My Mind" (Ivory Joe Hunter) and "Chains of Love," (Big Joe Turner) in the period up to 1957.
All were hits and many outselling the original versions. The paradox was Pat Boone's pale covers gave attention to the original artists, such as Little Richard and Fats Domino and to rhythm and blues music in general. Songwriters and copyright holders benefited even when individual artists did not. As a teen idol in the mid to late 1950s, Pat was second only to that of Elvis Presley but the rich baritone preferred to concentrated on ballads and rode high on the charts with middle of the road hits like, "April Love," (1957), "Love Letters in the Sand,” "Friendly Persuasion (Thee I Love)", and "Don't Forbid Me."
The British Invasion effectively ended Boone's career as a hit maker, though he continued recording throughout the 1960s.Pat began writing a series of self-help books for adolescents and appeared in several films including: Journey to the Centre of the Earth. He recorded "My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose" (Robert Burns) for the movie.
His last hits in the 60s were Moody River and Speedy Gonzalis
In the 1970s, Pat switched to gospel and country and by the 1980s and 1990s he stepped out of the secular spotlight. In 1997 he made a brief return and recorded a tongue in cheek album in 1997, called No More Mr. Nice Guy.
The tracks were a collection of covers of heavy metal tunes like "Smoke on the Water" and "Stairway to Heaven." After he appeared on American Music Awards clad in black leather and sporting temporary tattoos to promote the album, he was dismissed from his Trinity Broadcasting Network program Gospel America. Only later was he able to patch up the misunderstanding. The theme tune to The Osborne’s was Pat’s version of Ozzie Osborne's "Crazy Train” was taken for the album.
Despite his ability to laugh at himself, Pat remains a fundamental Christian who in truth has probably shocked more people with his fixed conservative opinions and political viewpoints than he ever did singing the devil’s music. Currently Pat works as a disc jockey and runs his own record company.
Worth a listen:
Ain't That A Shame (1955)
Tutti Frutti (1956)
Long Tall Sally (1956)
Love Letters In The Sand (1957)
April Love (1957)
A Wonderful Time Up There (1958)
Moody River (1961)
Speedy Gonzales (1962)
Love hurts (1997)