Boone began recording in 1954 for Republic Records. His 1955 version of Fats Domino's "Ain't That a Shame" was a huge hit. This set the stage for the early part of Boone's career, which focused on covering R&B songs by African American artists for a white American market. Randy Wood, the owner of Dot, had issued an R & B single by the Griffin Brothers in 1960 called "Tra La La-a" - a different song than the later LaVern Baker one - and he was keen to put out another version after the original had failed. This became the B side of the first Boone single "Two Hearts Two Kisses", originally by the Charms - whose "Hearts of Stone" had been covered by the label's Fontane Sisters. Once the Boone version was in the shops, it spawned more covers by the Crewcuts, Doris Day and even Frank Sinatra. In the UK the song was covered by Lita Roza, a band singer with Ted Heath and her version was in the shops first.
A #1 single in 1956 by Boone was not so much a cover as a revival of a then seven year old song "I Almost Lost My Mind"-a song which had been covered at the time by another black star, Nat King Cole, from the original by Ivory Joe Hunter, who was to benefit from Boone's hit version not only in royalties but in status as he was back in the news. In 1957 Boone cut an album simply called "Pat" which was full of R & B covers.
In the late 1950s, Boone lived in a modest home in Teaneck, New Jersey, despite his annual income of $750,000 at the time.
Six of Boone's hit singles were R&B covers. These were "Ain't That a Shame" by Fats Domino and "Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard, and "At My Front Door (Crazy Little Mama)" by the El Dorados. The other two R&B covers were blues ballads, "I Almost Lost My Mind" Award]]. Pat also wrote the lyrics for the instrumental theme song for the movie Exodus, which lyrics he titled "This Land Is Mine." (Ernest Gold had composed the music.)
A devout born-again Christian, he was raised in the conservative Church of Christ, but joined a Pentecostal church in the late 1960s. Boone has refused both songs and movie roles that he felt might compromise his standards, including a role alongside the decade's reigning sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe. In his first film, April Love (film), he refused to give co-star/film love interest Shirley Jones an onscreen kiss, because the actress was married in real life. This position is contradicted by what Hustler Magazine claimed in its January 1984 issue to be a genuine photograph of a younger Pat Boone exposing his genitals through a hole in a cardboard box. Among his other achievements, he hosted a TV series in the late 1950s and began writing a series of self-help books for adolescents, including Twixt Twelve and Twenty, in the early 1960s.
The British Invasion ended Boone's career as a hitmaker, though he continued recording throughout the 1960s. In the 1970s, he switched to gospel and country, and he continued performing in other media as well. He is currently working as the disc jockey of a popular oldies radio show and runs his own record company which provides an outlet for new recordings by 1950s greats who can no longer find a place with the major labels.
In 1953 Boone married Shirley Lee Foley, daughter of country music great Red Foley and singer Judy Martin. They had four daughters: Cheryl Lynn Boone, Linda Lee Boone, Deborah Ann aka "Debby" Boone, and Laura Gene Boone. In the 1960s and 1970s the Boone family toured as gospel singers and made gospel albums, such as The Pat Boone Family and The Family Who Prays.
In 1978, Boone became the first target in the Federal Trade Commission's crackdown on false claim product endorsements by celebrities. He had appeared with his daughter Debby on TV to claim that all four of his daughters had found a preparation named Acne-Statin a "real help" in keeping their skin clear. The FTC filed a complaint against the manufacturer, contending that the product did not really keep skin free of blemishes. Boone eventually signed a consent order in which he promised not only to stop appearing in the ads but to pay about 2.5% of any money that the FTC or the courts might eventually order the manufacturer to refund to consumers. Boone said, through a lawyer, that his daughters actually did use Acne-Statin, and that he was "dismayed to learn that the product's efficacy had not been scientifically established as he believed.
He was then dismissed from Gospel America, a TV show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. About a year later, the controversy died down and many fans, including Jack Hayford, accepted his explanation of the leather outfit being a "parody of himself." Trinity Broadcasting then reinstated him, and Gospel America was brought back.
In 2003, the Gospel Music Association of Nashville, Tennessee recognized his gospel recording work by inducting him into its Gospel Music Hall of Fame. In September 2006, Boone released Pat Boone R&B Classics - We Are Family, featuring cover versions of 11 R&B hits, including the title track, plus "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag," "Soul Man," "Get Down Tonight," "A Woman Needs Love," and six other classics.
In 2007 Pat Boone was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame as well as the Christian Music Hall of Fame.
Boone and his wife live in Los Angeles, California. They are members of The Church on the Way in the San Fernando Valley. His one-time neighbor was Ozzy Osbourne and his family. Boone's cover of Osbourne's song "Crazy Train" became the theme song for The Osbournes. (It appears on The Osbournes Soundtrack.) Ozzy Osbourne once said that Boone "never complained once" about living next door to their less-than-traditional family.
In 2006, Boone wrote an article for WorldNetDaily, in which he argued that Democrats and others who were against the Iraq War could never, under any circumstances, be considered patriotic. He was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on Fox News, where he expressed his outrage against the opponents of George W. Bush (namely the Dixie Chicks) that their criticisms of the President showed they did not "respect their elders. However, another article defended Mel Gibson after the actor was recorded making an anti-Semitic rant.
In early 2007, Boone wrote two articles claiming that the theory of evolution is an "absurd," "nonsensical" "bankrupt false religion." He later wrote an editorial in the form of a fairy tale where a young Prince Charming was seduced by a dwarf, got AIDS, and then overdosed.
In the 2007 Kentucky gubernatorial election, Pat Boone campaigned for incumbent Republican Ernie Fletcher with a prerecorded automated telephone message stating that the Democratic Party candidate Steve Beshear would support "every homosexual cause." As part of the campaign, Boone asked, "Now do you want a governor who'd like Kentucky to be another San Francisco? This caused a great deal of controversy and backlash for Boone.
It was recently announced that Boone was elected to be inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame and Museum Boone is among one hundred and twenty-four inductees who have made a valuable impact in the field of Gospel music.
Boone succeeded Dinah Shore singing the praises of the GM product: "See the USA in your Chevrolet...drive your Chevrolet through the USA, America's the greatest land of all!" In the 1989 documentary Roger & Me, Boone stated that he first was given a Corvette from the Chevrolet product line, but after he and wife started having children, at one child a year, GM supplied him with a station wagon as well.
Boone, who has endorsed an indeterminate number of products and services over the course of his career, said that more people identified him with Chevrolet than any other product.
With the founding of the American Basketball Association Boone on February 2 1967, became the majority owner of the league's team in Oakland, California. The team was first named the Oakland Americans but was later renamed as the Oakland Oaks, the name under which it played from 1967 to 1969. The Oaks won the 1969 ABA championship.
Despite the Oaks' success on the court, the team had severe financial problems. One reason was that the Oaks were the only team in the ABA playing in a market with direct local competition from an NBA team, the Golden State Warriors. By August 1969 the Bank of America was threatening to foreclose on a $1.2 million loan to the Oaks, and the team was sold to a group of businessmen in Washington, DC, and became the Washington Caps.
In Terry Pluto's book about the ABA, Loose Balls, Boone recounted his days as an owner and noted that he had a chance to buy into the then-expansion Dallas Mavericks of the NBA in 1981, but declined.