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Pat Boone

Pat Boone

Fact Sheet

Birthday1 June 1934 (83)
Birthplace  Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Pat Boone (born June 1, 1934) is one of the biggest recording artists of the 20th century. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Boone is a direct descendent of the legendary American pioneer Daniel Boone. He grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and began recording in 1954 for Republic Records. His 1955 version of "Ain't That a Shame" was a hit, eclipsing Fats Domino's original version. This set the stage for the early part of Boone's career, which focused on reworking R&B hits with a cleaner image, bringing rock 'n' roll tunes to a much wider audience.

Known as "The Kid in White Buck Shoes," Boone sported a cleancut image that appealed to teens and parents alike. His singing style, a rich baritone, followed in the tradition of his idol, Bing Crosby. Preferring to carry on in the Crosby tradition, he soon began turning more and more to ballads. Some of his biggest hits included "Love Letters In The Sand," "April Love," "Friendly Persuasion (Thee I Love)" and "Don't Forbid Me."

His popularity in the late 1950s was secondary only to that of Elvis Presley, and like Elvis, soon tried his hand at acting. Pat's pictures were fewer in number than Elvis', but significantly higher in quality, including 1960's Journey to the Center of the Earth along with Hollywood notable James Mason. His recording of the theme song from the 1957 film "April Love" topped the charts for 6 weeks and was nominated for an Academy Award. Pat also wrote the theme song for the movie "Exodus."

A strict born-again Christian, he refused both songs and movie roles that he felt might compromise his standards, including a role opposite the decade's reigning sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe. Among his other achievements, he hosted a TV series in the late 1950s, and began writing in the early 1960s, a series of self-help books for adolescents.

The British Invasion effectively ended Boone's career as a hitmaker, though he continued recording throughout the 60s. In the 1970s, he switched to gospel and country, and he continued performing in other media as well, most importantly radio. He's currently working as the deejay of a popular oldies show, and runs his own record company which provides a much-welcomed outlet for new recordings by 1950s greats who can no longer find a place with the major labels.

Pat married Shirley Lee Foley, daughter of Red Foley in 1953, and they had four daughters: Cherry, Lindy, Debby Boone, and Laury. In the 60's and 70's the Boone family toured as gospel singers and made gospel albums, such as The Pat Boone Family and The Family Who Prays.

In 1997, Boone released No More Mr. Nice Guy, a collection of heavy metal covers revamped into the popular mold to fit the Pat Boone style. To promote the album, he appeared at the American Music Awards in black leather, shocking audiences and losing his respectability among his largest constituency, conservative Christians; he was fired from Gospel America, a TV show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

In recent decades, a contingent of rock 'n' roll revisonists and fans of "race music", as it was known, have successfully boycotted Pat Boone's "cover" records from the majority of oldies stations. Despite his having played a crucial role in the popularization of rock 'n' roll, he has yet to be inducted into the "Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame."