Pat BooneSinger / Actor
Born: 1 June 1934
Birthplace: Jacksonville, Florida
Best known as: White-shoed Christian singer of 1950s rock 'n' roll hits
Name at birth: Charles Eugene Boone
During the 1950s singer Pat Boone rivalled Elvis Presley for success on the charts, most famously with subdued covers of hit songs by black artists. Boone's first big break came as a multiple winner of The Ted Mack Amateur Hour, a televised talent competition. The exposure led to a contract with Dot Records, and one of his first recordings, "Two Hearts, Two Kisses," became a hit single. In 1955 his version of the Fats Domino hit "Ain't That A Shame" reached the top of the charts, and Boone followed up with a string of hits. His versions of Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally" outsold the originals, as did his 1956 cover of Ivory Joe Hunter's "I Almost Lost His Mind," and Boone sat atop the charts until the early 1960s. By that time he had also started an acting career, most notably as a lead in the film Journey To The Center Of The Earth (1959, based on the novel by Jules Verne). By the mid-1960s Boone's squeaky-clean style was no longer what rock fans wanted, but he proved he had staying power as a gospel singer and TV personality. Unabashedly Christian, Boone has since had a reputation as a wholesome, inoffensive celebrity who, like William Shatner, is willing to poke fun at himself in order to stay in the limelight. In 1997 he released an album of tame versions of heavy metal songs, earning the enmity of some religious groups but gaining a new audience of irony-loving rock fans.
Extra credit: Boone's fashion trademark was his ever-present white buck shoes... Boone wrote the lyrics to the song "Exodus"... One of his four daughters, Debby Boone, recorded "You Light Up My Life," a top-selling hit in 1977... Boone is married to Shirley Foley, the daughter of country singer Red Foley.
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