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Pat Boone

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Charles Eugene Patrick Boone (known as Pat Boone) (born June 1, 1934) is a singer whose smooth style made him a popular performer of the 1950s. His cover versions of African-American rhythm and blues hits had a noticeable effect on the development of the broad popularity of rock and roll. He is also an actor, a motivational speaker, a television personality, and a conservative political commentator.

Born in Jacksonville, Florida, USA, Boone is a direct descendant of the American pioneer Daniel Boone. He grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, attended David Lipscomb College and began recording in 1954 for Republic Records. His 1955 version of “Ain’t That a Shame” was a huge hit, selling far better than Fats Domino’s original version. This set the stage for the early part of Boone’s career, which focused on covering R&B songs by black artists for a white market. Previously, rock ‘n’ roll had had only limited exposure outside of the African American community. Pat Boone’s pale covers gave attention to the more authentic original artists, such as Little Richard and Fats Domino and to rhythm and blues in general. In addition, the songwriters and copyright holders benefited even when individual artists did not.

In fact, only six of Boone’s many hit singles were R&B covers, and only four of those were rockers. All were released in the first two years of his long career. 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.

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