Charles Eugene Boone (born June 1, 1934), known professionally as Pat Boone, is an American singer, actor and writer who was a successful pop singer in the United States during the 1950s and early 1960s. 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 pre-rock and roll era. He continues to entertain and perform.
Boone was successful in multiple ways. He hosted a network television show, The Pat Boone Chevy Show from 1957-1959. He has written many books and had a number 1 bestseller in the 1950s ("Twixt Twelve and Twenty", Prentice-Hall). His cover versions of African-American 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, Chicago 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.
Boone is also a motivational speaker, a television personality, a conservative political commentator and a Christian activist, writer and preacher.
Boone was born in Jacksonville, Florida and was raised primarily in Nashville, Tennessee, a place he still visits often. The son of Mr. and Mrs. A.A. Boone, 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. He then attended Lipscomb College, now Lipscomb University, in Nashville. Boone grew up as a Christian in the Church of Christ and Lipscomb is a very popular Church of Christ university.
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 (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 the University of North Texas). During his college career, he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order.
Boone began recording in 1954 for Republic Records. His 1955 version of Fats Domino's "Ain't That a Shame" was a huge 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 1960 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 even 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 #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. In 1957 Boone cut an album simply called "Pat" which was full of R & B covers.
In the late 1950s, Boone lived in a modest home in Teaneck, New Jersey, despite his annual income of $750,000 at the time.
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; "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. Pat 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.)
A devout born-again Christian, he was raised in the conservative Church of Christ, but joined a Pentecostal church in the late 1960s. Boone has refused both songs and movie roles that he felt might compromise his standards, including a role alongside the decade's reigning sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe. In his first film, April Love, he refused to give co-star/film love interest Shirley Jones an onscreen kiss, because the actress was married in real life. Among his other achievements, he hosted a TV series in the late 1950s and began writing a series of self-help books for adolescents, including Twixt Twelve and Twenty, in the early 1960s.
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 Boone married Shirley Lee Foley, daughter of country music great Red Foley and singer Judy Martin. They had four daughters: Cheryl Lynn Boone, Linda Lee Boone, Deborah Ann aka "Debby" Boone, and Laura Gene Boone. 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, Pat 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 on TV 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."
Pat Boone was reared in the Church of Christ. Eventually, he became a part of the charismatic movement. Pat Boone attends The Church On The Way in Van Nuys, California, and has served as a host on Christian television programs on Trinity Broadcasting Network.
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. About a year later, the controversy died down and many fans, including Jack Hayford, 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 Gospel Music Association of Nashville, Tennessee 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 Pat Boone was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame as well as the Christian Music Hall of Fame.
Boone and his wife live in Los Angeles. They are members of The Church On The Way in the San Fernando Valley. His one-time neighbor was Ozzy Osbourne and his family. Boone's cover of Osbourne's song "Crazy Train" became the theme song for The Osbournes. (It appears on The Osbournes Soundtrack.) Ozzy 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.
Since 1977, he 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.
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. He was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on Fox News, where he expressed his outrage against the opponents of George W. Bush (namely the Dixie Chicks) that their criticisms of the President showed they did not "respect their elders." 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, Pat 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?" This caused a great deal of controversy and backlash for Boone.
More recently, he assisted the John McCain 2008 presidential campaign by lending his voice to automated campaign phonecalls.
On December 6, 2008 Pat Boone wrote an article for WorldNetDaily wherein he drew analogies between recent gay rights protests, and recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. He reminds readers of hostage taking, exploding bombs systematic murder and chaotic conditions of carnage. In it, he asserts that marriage is a biblically ordained institution, which the government has no part in defining. He then states that equal rights for women, blacks and slavery were not "obtained by threats and violent demonstrations and civil disruption" but rather through due process. He concludes 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." The Human Rights Campaign has called this article "a new low in anti-gay rhetoric".
On August 29, 2009, Boone wrote an article comparing liberals to cancer, describing them as "black filthy cells".
As Chevrolet spokesman
Pat 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 60s.
Boone 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!" 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.
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 on February 2, 1967, became the majority owner of the league's team in Oakland, California. 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 noted that he had a chance to buy into the then-expansion Dallas Mavericks of the NBA in 1981, but declined.