Two For Tuesday: Pat Boone (Baby Boom Years)

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.

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

10 thoughts on “Two For Tuesday: Pat Boone (Baby Boom Years)”

  1. Oh wow…you went there..hahahaaaa. I was wondering if you would talk about Pat Boone who was very popular and actually appeared in movies, one of my favourite Being Journey to the Centre of the Earth with James Mason. I agree with what you said as well because he didn’t have a say and it was the sign of the times unfortunately.

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  2. John,

    I think I recall reading somewhere of Pat’s impressive popularity second to Elvis which seems strange considering I always thought of him as a gospel singer when I was kid, and then in the 70s, he sorta lost his mind or so I thought, crossed over to rock n’ roll. But, he’d been doing contemporary songs for years just not hip dance mewsic of my early days and so his migration to modern dance mewsic seemed weird at best in my book. Of his gospel mewsic, I’m not sure which titles come to mind but for some reason, “Whispering Hope” popped into my brain. He has beautiful vocals for these old hymns.

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    1. He has a good voice suitable for any number of styles of music. And when you think about it many R&B acts started singing in church (e.g. Aretha Franklin). You don’t think of Pat as an R&B singer, but he did quite a few R&B songs in his early days.

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  3. I guess it was probably somewhere around 1957 when my parents were performing their juggling act at a home and garden show in somewhere like Ashtabula, Ohio. Pat Boone was on the bill and the teenage girls were going nuts over Boone. I recall them trying to get into the dressing room where we were and milling through corridors everywhere. Things were pretty crazy.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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      1. I’m not even sure Boone was in the building except for when he performed. I don’t know because I never saw him. But I was very young at the time and probably didn’t care about much that was going on. I think I wanted to go look at the garden and home stuff.

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