Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pat Boone

In 1997 Pat Boone released a CD called No More Mr. Nice Guy, subtitled In A Metal Mood. The cover features a picture in which he looks absolutely demented, and track listing includes songs by Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, et al. It seems to have been a serious undertaking. It is difficult to understand who may have thought that it was a good idea.

Pat Boone doing rock and roll was never a good idea. Certainly he has expressed resentment about the omission of his name from the annals of rock and roll. He was there at the beginning, he says, doing Fats Domino and Little Richard, and putting R & B on the map. His contribution is unrecognized.

True enough, but for the fact that his recordings of R& B classics were terrible. His ballads were ok. But put rock and roll in front of him and did not have a clue.

Most of this comes from a real obscure import I got at Records On Wheels, called Friendly Persuasion. I never saw another copy. Some of the songs come from Pat’s Great Hits, and some come from singles, and those come from Pyramid.

Pat Boone:

Ain’t That A Shame – Ain’t That A Shame was by Fats Domino, written by Domino and Dave Bartholomew, and it was one of the great signature tunes of rock and roll in the heady year of 1955. Boone’s version is typical, he doesn’t know how to sing it, and the rhythm is stilted.. Still, it reached number 1 in the summer of 1955.
I’ll Be Home – Not the Randy Newman song, obviously. This is a ballad, and Boone was a decent ballad singer. This is from the winter of 1956.
I Almost Lost My Mind – This was by Ivory Joe Hunter, but I don’t have the original. This spent four weeks at number 1 in the summer of ’56. Boone’s singing is somewhat mannered, but I guess that’s what the song calls for.
No Other Arms – From the autumn of 1955. Not to be confused with No Other Arms, No Other Lips by The Chordettes.
‘Twixt Twelve And Twenty – A ballad about being a teenager, kind of drippy. From the summer of ‘59
Sugar Moon – Another formula ballad, this one from the spring / summer of ’58.
If Dreams Came True – Yet another syrupy ballad, another one from the summer of ’58.
With The Wind And The Rain In Your Hair – From the winter of 1959.
Good Rockin’ Tonight – This was the flip of With The Wind And The Rain In Your Hair, and it made the charts in its own right. It is pretty terrible. You don’t have to listen to Elvis do this to realize how bad this is, but it helps.
Anastasia – From the winter of 56 / 57. A song about a mystery girl, and I’ve never known anyone named Anastasia. This was the flip of Don’t Forbid Me.
Remember You’re Mine – A bit of a country lilt on this. A going away song, and a hit in the autumn of 1957.
Chains Of Love – Not to be confused with Chains by The Cookies / Beatles. This was the b side of Friendly Persuasion, and it was a hit in the fall of ’56.
I’m In Love With You – Upbeat, let’s get married. From the fall of ’57.
(Welcome) New Lovers – From late winter toward spring, 1960.
I’m Waiting Just For You – From spring 1957
There’s A Gold Mine In The Sky – Pat Boone, among other things, was an evangelist. He usually managed to keep his career as a pop singer separate, but occasionally his evangelism would spill over. This was a hit in the fall of ’57.
Big Cold Wind – The story of the demise of a romance. From the autumn of ’61.
When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano – A hit for The Ink Spots. Pat’s version reached no 80 in the fall of ’87. It was the flip of April Love.
I’ll See You In My Dreams – From the winter of ’62.
Fools Hall Of Fame – From the fall of ’59.
The Wang Dang Taffy Apple Tango – A silly dance I guess. Guy can’t dance but gets the girl. Cute. This was from the spring of ’59.
Bernadine – From the spring of ’57, the flip of Love Letters In The Sand. Ok, I did know a girl named Bernadine, and I can not remember her last name, not that I would tell you. So it was the summer of 1970, I was 13, and my friend DS, his brother knew a girl (well he probably knew lots of girls) and this girl had a sister my age, and she was Bernadine, and she came round and the three of us went bike riding, me and DS and the girl. I saw her maybe 11 years later, and she remembered me, and she remembered the bike ride. And I haven’t seen her since.
Friendly Persuasion – A song with thee and thou, thee pleasures me in a hundred ways. This was an old song, but this version was a hit in the fall of ’56.
Gee Whittakers! – From the winter of 1956
Love Letters In The Sand – Number 1 for 7 weeks in the summer of 1957.
April Love – April Love was a hit in December. That was 1957. Spent 6 weeks at number 1. Just another sappy ballad.
Spring Rain – From the summer of 1960. A song about being 17.
Don’t Forbid Me – The Christian evangelist sings the anti-abstinence anthem. A number 1 hit in early 1957.
A Wonderful Time Up There – More religion but at least the one swings. From spring of 1958.
Cherie, I Love You – From spring / summer, 1958. This was the flip of Sugar Moon.
Moody River – This is the Pat Boone song that you’re most likely to hear on oldies radio. A song about deception and suicide. From the summer of ’61, this was Boone’s last number 1. Sinatra covered it.
Long Tall Sally – Pat Boone does Little Richard. This is an unmitigated disaster. From the spring of ’56. Little Richard never sang about Long Tall Sally of course. What he sang was “Bald Headed Sally” but Boone reverts to the title, I saw Uncle John with Long Tall Sally. To be fair, so did Paul McCartney on The Beatles’ version, at least on the official recording; in concert Paul sang about Bald Headed Sally. So did Elvis on his recording. I don’t remember what The Swinging Blue Jeans did…
Why Baby Why – Not the George Jones song. This was in the top 10 in the spring of ’57.
Mona Lisa – This is a straight interpretation of the Nat King Cole hit.
It’s Too Soon To Know – The Ink Spots did this. This was from late winter / spring of 1958, and it was the b side of A Wonderful Time Up There.
Are You Lonesome Tonight – This was a big hit by Elvis.
Deep Purple – An old standard. It was hit in the early 60s for Nino Tempo & April Stevens.
When I Fall In Love – Many people did this, and it was a hit for The Lettermen.
Speedy Gonzales – A novelty number I guess. Features the cartoon character. The parts with Speedy are good. This was from the summer of ’62.
Tutti Frutti – Another Little Richard song. Another miss. From winter / spring ’56.
Johnny Will – This was from late 1961. Johnny is our systems administrator at work. His surname is not “Will,” but neither is our hero’s; the “will” in the title is a verb. Johnny will take his girl out, if Pat can’t come up with dance money. $10 he needs. He has a week. I’m sort of rooting for Johnny here…

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