Pat Boone is certainly one-of-a-kind. He has continued to remain relevant in the entertainment industry for well over a half-century as a singer/songwriter, actor, TV host, pitchman, producer, author, motivational speaker, radio personality and humanitarian.
Boone is one of very few entertainers to receive not just one, but three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: for recording, television and films.
According to Billboard, Boone ranks #10 of all-time top recording artists. He also runs his own very successful record company, The Gold Label, which includes artists such as Glen Campbell, Jack Jones, Sha Na Na, The Ventures, and Boone himself.
Boone produced the recording “He’ll Never Walk Alone” honoring the United States Deputy Sheriff’s Association and wrote and produced For My Country, a musical tribute and documentary acknowledging the National Guard.
His latest book, co-written with Cord Cooper, is Questions About God And the Answers That Could Change Your Life.
Steadfastly unafraid to air his views, Boone furnished The Tolucan Times with this candid interview.
Why is producing material for those who serve so important to you?
Some years ago I heard groups like 2 Live Crew and NWA actually urging their listeners and fans to ‘off the pigs’ – to kill police! I was stunned at the audacity and the idiocy of it. But I realized that some of the culture of the times might actually influence impressionable and somewhat angry young kids to do just that. So I wrote the first song and then another one to humanize the police, reminding listeners these are men and women with families, who do a dirty and necessary job, and we should support, not vilify them. My music was in my albums but ignored by radio – until the recent killings began to shock us into sanity and the seriousness of the lack of support for the men and women in blue who literally keep our society holding together.
How are you able to stay in the limelight after decades in show business?
I married a wonderful girl, Shirley Foley, when we were both 19, (Editor’s note: in 1953) and we had four kids by the time I graduated from Columbia University, Magna Cum Laude, at age 23. From then on there was a terrible responsibility that I had taken on (terrible but wonderful) and it has kept me with my nose to the grindstone and my feet on solid ground. Having great responsibility can do that for you, and I’m grateful for it. Also, it helps that I’m too eclectic for my own good, perhaps, because I have actually had recording success in at least five genres, made successful movies and done TV and the sheer variety has kept me in the public eye in a favorable light. Thank God.
What is the biggest difference in the business from when you started to be in it these days?
My career began in the mid ‘50s and it was exciting; a lot of it was new and much simpler. If you could sing and entertain in a way people liked, there was a simplicity in the opportunities you would have. Today it’s all boardrooms and intricate plans and social media, and technical know. I’m sure glad I came along when I did. Furthermore there was more of an innocence and morality—most of which has succumbed to big buck hopes for anything that will break taboos and push the envelopes. Not good.
What is next for you?
I have several huge business interests, made the biggest deal on Shark Tank in the history of the show involving the car that runs on highly compressed air. This and humanitarian efforts are taking all the time I can spare from my ever expanding family. It’s a joyous time, but not enough of it.
Do you ever plan on retiring?
I can’t imagine sitting in a rocking chair and calling it quits. I suppose God will decide when I retire. Right now I’m having too much fun!
Denise Ames is a celebrity columnist who has contributed to Entertainment Today, All Access magazine and CNN HLN Local Edition. She has also hosted TV’s “Focus in the Mix with Denise Ames” and “The Rustam Report.”