I can hear your eyes rolling all the way here, but Pat Boone was quite the pop powerhouse in the Fifties and Sixties. Billboard Magazine says that he was second only to Elvis as the most successful artist during that period. He set, and still holds, the record for having at least one song on the Billboard charts for 220 consecutive weeks. That’s over four years. Wow.
His first #1 single, in 1955, was a cover of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That A Shame.” It was a time when Black artists didn’t get airplay on White stations. It also reached #12 on the R&B chart and #7 in the UK, and set the stage for a few more covers of Black artists, including Little Richard (“Long Tall Sally” and “Tutti Frutti”).
His last #1 was 1961’s “Moody River.” It also reached #4 on the Cash Box survey and #18 in the UK.
Pat’s other four #1’s in the period were 1956’s “I Almost Lost My Mind” and 1957’s “Don’t Forbid Me”, “Love Letters In The Sand”, and “April Love”. And, lest we forget, he also recorded 1962’s “Speedy Gonzalez”, which reached #6 in the US and #2 in the UK.
A lot of comments I saw on the videos I used today took Pat Boone to task for “stealing” Fats Domino’s and Little Richard’s music. I don’t see it that way: he wasn’t responsible for the racial climate that existed in the recording and radio broadcast business at the time, and at this time in his career he was handed a piece of music and told to sing it. He did the best he could, which was nowhere near as good as the original artists, and may have paved the way for radio stations broadcasting the original versions of the songs.
Thanks, as always, to Bob Moke, a/k/a “MusicProf78”, who has built a tremendous archive of hit music from the 1920’s through the 1960’s on YouTube.
Pat Boone, your Two for Tuesday, October 3, 2017.