Forget the Terrible Politics, Here's Some Terrible Music - Pat Boone Tops the Chart With Two Songs He Never Should Have Recorded

by VVN Music

With the election of a new president just a few days away, we thought we would take everyone's mind off the two bad candidates with some of the worst music to ever top the Billboard Singles chart. 

Let's get the criticisms out of the way right from the start. Love him or hate him, Pat Boone has a place in the history of the Rock Era, even if it is as the one artist to extend the life of the crooners well into the 60's but, at the beginning of his career, he was an embarrassment to popular music and started a trend that kept some of the great R&B artists from reaching their full potential.

Boone began recording in 1954 and, the next year, he had his first hit with Two Hearts (1955 / #16) but it was the followup, a cover of Fats Domino's Ain't That a Shame, that gave him the first of six number 1 records.

The problem was, when compared to the original, the recording was watered down garbage. The raw R&B sound was gone, replaced by a big band that tried to sound "hip" but just sounded like someone's really poor attempt to make the burgeoning rock sound palatable to adults.

The other problem with the record was that it set a precedent. It proved that white artists could take the music of black America and produce milquetoast versions to appease the buying public. Compare the Chords Sh-Boom with the bigger hit by the Crew Cuts, Georgia Gibb's version of Dance With Me Henry compared to Etta James' original (The Wallflower) or Teresa Brewer's A Tear Fell vs. the Ivory Joe Hunter original.

Boone went on to do R&B covers again and again over the next couple of years including the El Dorados' At My Front Door (Crazy Little Mama), the Flamingo's I'll Be Home, Little Richard's Tutti Frutti and Long Tall Sally, Big Joe Turner's Chains of Love and the Orioles' It's Too Soon to Know. All of those, except for Tutti Frutti, hit the top ten while the R&B equivalents didn't even come close.

His second number 1 was also an R&B cover, Ivory Joe Hunter's I Almost Lost My Mind (1956).

Boone finally broke his stream of R&B covers in late-1956 with the theme from the film Friendly Persuasion (#5) and, although other covers would follow, he slowly started moving over to more original, pop music, material as his career continued to build stream.

In 1957, he had three more number 1s, Don't Forbid Me, a song written by Charles Singleton and originally sent to Elvis Presley, Boone's biggest hit, Love Letters in the Sand, and another movie theme, April Love. Pat had his sixth and final number 1, Moody River, in early 1961.

Pat Boone's main legacy in the annals of popular music is that, from 1955 to 1961, he was second only to Elvis Presley in total records sold including eighteen top ten hits.

1 comment

Gootsy said...

Talking about Pat Boone and covers, let's not forget (uhm, well, actually LET'S forget) the "In a metal mood" album

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