Pat Boone

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Pat Boone

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Pat Boone grew up in Nashville and returns to the Franklin Theatre Sat, Oct 17th.  A successful pop singer in the 1950s and 60s, he is still performing shows all across the country.  We sat down with Pat to learn more about his home in Nashville, how Elvis Presley opened for him one time, and what how does he stay so young?

1.

You have had 60 year career in music, to what do you attribute your success?

It’s hard for me to credit anybody other than the Lord God, who opened the doors and created opportunities for me – and like an innocent babe, I just walked through the doors and did what the opportunity demanded. Mama had a ukelele and could play a few chords, and she taught my brother Nick and me to play those chords. And with them, we were able to sing at family gathering swapping harmony and lead parts to everybody’s delight. I got to where I liked it, and volunteered for every school project that required singing – and then wound up doing a local radio show on WSIX Youth on Parade, hosting and presenting teen talent from all other middle TN.

Still in high school, I entered a talent contest at East Nashville High, and won! The first prize was a trip to NY and an audition for the Ted Mack Amateur Hour. I won that 3 weeks in a row (like American Idol, the winners were selected by cards and letters during the following week and brought back for the next Sat. appearance.) Soon after those shows I married Red Foley’s daughter, Shirley, moved to Denton, TX and was on my way to being a teacher/ preacher like my roll models at David Lipscomb. But I was called back to NY to compete against other 3 time winners on the Ted Mack Show, and while there, won the Arthur Godfrey talent scout show – and that led to a recording contract with Dot Records in Galveston, TN. My first record was Two Hearts Two Kisses and the next was Ain’t That A Shame, a number one million seller – and I was on my way! I was on the Billboard charts for 220 consecutive weeks, usually with 2 records, one going up and the other going down – and no one to this date has equaled that record. As I say, God opened doors and I walked through, singing.

2

With such an accomplished career has come many accolades, is there one award that stands out the most to you?

I’ve had 13 gold records, a platinum album, and a top 10 box office film award and a number of philanthropic and humanitarian awards, all much appreciated. But the one I treasure most is being inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in Nashville

3

Many may not know that Elvis was your “opening act”, tell us what that was like?

Elvis, he was the “opening act” at a big sock hop in Cleveland,  October  22, 1955. I had had 3 hit records since March of that year, and was called in to be the headliner for this sock hop at a major high school. The DJ host brought a young kid up from Shreveport, where he was appearing on the Louisiana Hayride as “rock a billy” singer named Elvis Presley. We met backstage, I wished him well and watched him lip-sync both sides of his Sun record which is all he had done at that point. The kids liked him, though they didn’t know who he was, and I felt myself fortunate to get all the screams that night because I had 3 current hits. We became very good friends and met together frequently after that, even making movies at the same time in adjacent studios at 20th Century Fox for a while. But we never worked together- and I had the good sense never to follow him again!

4

We have to know what is your secret to staying so young?

It sure helps to have been birthed by 2 healthy and straight living parents. Daddy lived to be 94, Mama 91, and they weren’t even trying. I’m trying – and always – eating healthy, getting lots of exercise which I love, and trying to keep my conscious clean. Mine gets dirty like anybody’s, but I know where to go (and to Whom) to have it cleaned. That erases a lot of stress that ages others.

 

5

Do you still have your home in Nashville? 

Our home is out on Roanoke Road off Granny White Pike and it’s still there. My sister and I own it and that’s always where I stay when I’m in Nashville. Mama and Daddy named it “the little house by the side of the road”, and often welcomed tourists to the front porch to have a visit! My most vivid Franklin memory was me singing in gospel meetings at the Church of Christ, with guest minister G.C. Brewer. Shirley and I married during that series of meetings and spent our honeymoon night at at motel on the edge of Franklin – and I led singing at the gospel meetings the next morning! Boy, was I sleepy.

Pat Boone

An Evening with Pat Boone – “Music and Memories” will be held at the Franklin Theatre on October 17th. In this funny and often touching autobiographical one-man show, the entertainment icon sings the hits and tells the stories of his 50+ years in show business. From the early days of competing with Elvis for the number one spot on the pop music charts, to his film and television career, to an inside glimpse of his family life…Pat shows why he’s still one of the all-time greats. Purchase your tickets to the show at the Franklin Theatre.

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