Pat’s Progress: A Boone Timeline

PrintPrintEmailEmail June 1, 1934

A direct descendant of the frontiersman Daniel Boone, Charles Eugene Patrick “Pat” Boone is born, to a building contractor and a registered nurse, in Jacksonville, Florida.

1936

The Boone family moves to Nashville, Tennessee.

1947

At the age of 13 croons on a Saturday morning teen-talent radio program, “Youth on Parade,” where he is billed as a young Bing Crosby.

1952

Graduates from high school, and wins first place in the school’s talent contest, beating out a fellow classmate, a budding opera singer named Shirley Foley.

January 1953

Marries his singing competition, Shirley Foley. Attends David Lipscomb College, but then transfers to North Texas State University. The couple moves to Denton, Texas, and starts a family of four girls: Cherry, Lindy, Debby, and Laury. Debby will go on to have a smash hit in 1977, “You Light Up My Life,” charting at number one for 10 weeks, surpassing her father’s record.

April 1953

Appears on a local talent program, Ted Mack’s “Amateur Hour.” Lands a yearlong spot on Arthur Godfrey’s “Talent Scouts” and then wins a recording contract with Republic Records.

March 1955

Makes his first Top 40 recording, a cover of an R&B hit, “Two Hearts,” for Dot Records. Boone recalled, “I flew to Chicago and worked on it for about four hours. The next day we found out that Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, the Lancers, and the DeCastro Sisters were all jumping on the same song, so Randy [Randy Wood of Dot] sent me to 20 cities in 18 days. . . . [Everyone] thought Pat Boone had to be black, and I’d have to show them identification before they would accept that I was Pat Boone and wasn’t black. The record took off and went right into the top 10 and sold a million copies.”

1956

Repeats his formula for chart success throughout the fifties as the nice white boy, in signature white buck shoes, crooning in a smooth and sexless baritone—and making safe for mass consumption the output of black R&B artists. Rock ’n’ roll legend Little Richard said, “Pat Boone is the man who made me a millionaire.” Only Elvis Presley tops Boone’s pop-hits machine.

Hits of 1956

“Gee Whittakers!” #19

“I’ll Be Home” #4

“Tutti Frutti” #12

“Just as Long as I’m With You” #76

“Long Tall Sally” #8

“I Almost Lost My Mind” #1

“Friendly Persuasion” #

“Chains of Love” #20

“Howdy!” #14

1957

Hosts his own television show, “The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom.” He also begins making movies—beating Elvis to the punch. Boone will appear in 15 films, taking roles on the basis of a personal moral code, and, following his strictures, apparently turns down the chance to act with Marilyn Monroe.

Hits of 1957

“Don’t Forbid Me” #1

“Anastasia” #37

“Why Baby Why” #5

“I’m Waiting Just for You” #27

“Love Letters in the Sand” #1

“Bernadine” #14

“A Closer Walk With Thee” #13

“Remember You’re Mine” #6

“There’s a Gold Mine in the Sky” #20

“When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano” #90

“April Love” #1

1958

Graduates magna cum laude from Columbia University and publishes his best-selling book of advice for teens, ’Twixt Twelve and Twenty .

His 1958 bestseller.
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Hits of 1958

“A Wonderful Time up There” #4

“It’s Too Soon to Know” #11

“Cherie, I Love You” #63

“Sugar Moon” #5

“If Dreams Came True” #7

“That’s How Much I Love You” #39

“Stardust” #2

“For My Good Fortune” #21

“Gee but It’s Lonely” #31

“Yes Indeed!” #13

“I’ll Remember Tonight” #34

Hits of 1959

“With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair” #21

“Good Rockin’ Tonight” #49

“For a Penny” #23

“The Wang Dang Taffy-Apple Tango” #62

“Twixt Twelve and Twenty” #17

“Fools Hall of Fame” #29

“Beyond the Sunset” #71

Hits of 1960

“(Welcome) New Lovers” #18

“Words” #94

“Walking the Floor Over You” #44

“Spring Rain” #50

“Moonglow” #26

“Candy Sweet” #72

“Delia Gone” #66

“Dear John” #44

“Alabam” #47

Hits of 1962

“Johnny Will” #35

“Pictures in the Fire” #77

“I’ll See You in My Dreams” #32

“Quando Quando Quando” #95

“Speedy Gonzales” #6 (featuring voice-over giant Mel Blanc, the original voice of the Loony Tunes character Speedy Gonzales.)

“Ten Lonely Guys” #45

“White Christmas” #116

1963

The Beatles invade, and the era of squeaky-clean teen idols comes to an end. While Pat Boone will never regain his champion standing in the pop charts, he doesn’t stop recording, branching out into country and gospel music.

1983

Hosts a Christian radio show, and records the song “Let Me Live,” which is used by the right-to-life movement.

1997

Makes “In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy.” The album is composed of big-band arrangements of heavy-metal covers, such as Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” and Jimi Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Mary.” The last stretches the concept of the album but survives unscathed despite the lounge treatment, proving both the song’s viability as a genuine classic and Boone’s ear for good music.

2002

Boone’s Vegas version of Ozzy Osbourne’s metal classic “Crazy Train” is used as the theme song for MTV’s hit reality show “The Osbournes,” starring Ozzy and his dysfunctional family. Boone is a friend of the Osbournes and lives next door to them; he has never complained about his rowdy, substance-abusing neighbors and even minds their house when the family is away.

2005

Celebrates 50 years in the music business and 52 years of marriage to Shirley Foley. Ranked tenth in the Top 10 rock ’n’ roll artists in history, above Billy Joel and Madonna, with 38 hits in the Top 40. He has not yet been honored with a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but his ambitions remain intact: “My main goal is to hit the charts with five albums in one year, and that’s something nobody’s ever even thought about, much less done.”