Pat Boone in Akron, Ohio at the Soapbox Derby wearing his signature white bucks. Photo: Pat Boone Enterprises
Pat Boone is a legendary American singer, composer, actor, writer and spokesman. He was a #1 pop singer in the United States during the 1950s and early 1960s. He sold more than 45 million records and had 38 top 40 hits, including 6 number one records, and 13 “million sellers”, or gold records. In addition, Boone appeared in more than 15 Hollywood films.
In the years immediately prior to the British Invasion, only one performer rivaled the chart dominance of Elvis Presley, and that was Pat Boone. However, Boone represented the very essence of wholesome American values. At a time when the rise of Rock ‘n Roll was viewed as a sign of the Apocalypse, Boone made the music appear safe and non-threatening. He also recorded a lot of Christian music, and even wrote the words to what is considered Israel’s second national anthem, “Exodus.”
Born Charles Eugene Patrick Boone on June 1, 1934, “Pat” Boone was raised in Nashville, TN where he sang in church and on local TV and radio. In 1953, when they were both 19, Pat and Shirley Foley were married. Pat then graduated from Columbia University, Magna Cum Laude, in 1958. Pat and Shirley Boone had four daughters and remained married for 65 years, until her passing in 2019.
Boone made his recording debut in 1954 on Republic Records, followed a year later by his Dot Records debut “Two Hearts, Two Kisses.” In May of 1955 he notched his first No. 1 hit with a rendition of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame.” From 1956–1963 Boone accumulated nearly 54 chart appearances, many of them with two-sided hits. His most notable smashes included the No. 1 records “Love Letters in the Sand” and “April Love,” both released in 1957. He also starred in the film, April Love, which was released that same year. Throughout his career, Boone stayed true to his Christian values and commented that he would only star in moral, uplifting films. That same year he began hosting his own ABC television series “The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom,” which featured a “who’s who” of top-name guests, including Ella Fitzgerald, Nat ‘King’ Cole, and Tony Bennett.
His numerous charitable endeavors include hosting the Easter Seals Telethon for many years, helping raise $600 million for children with disabilities. Together with their son-in-law, Pat and Shirley Boone founded Mercy Corps, one of the top ten Christian humanitarian and relief organizations. Boone continues to support many other ministries, including the Salvation Army, Bible for the World, and the Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Among his numerous awards and accolades, Boone has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2003, he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Dick Clark, Pat Boone and Jerry Lee Lewis 1958. Source:
Pat Boone sings to the back rows. Courtesy Pat Boone.