Charles Eugene Patrick Boone was born June 1, 1934 in Jacksonville, Florida; a descendant of American frontier hero Daniel Boone; he attended high school in Nashville, and was voted student body president. After graduating, Boone married Shirley Foley, the daughter of country star Red Foley, and after a period at Nashville's David Lipscomb College, he transferred to North Texas State University. There, after taking top honors at a local talent show, he earned the right to appear on the The Ted Mack Amateur Hour, leading to a year-long tenure on The Arthur Godfrey Show. In 1954, Boone made his first recordings for the small Republic label, followed a year later by his Dot Records debut "Two Hearts, Two Kisses." As 1955 drew to a close, he notched his first number one hit, a sedate rendition of Fats Domino's aforementioned "Ain't That a Shame"; in the years to come he would record numerous cover versions of songs first credited to black performers, among them Little Richard, the El Dorados, the Flamingos and Ivory Joe Hunter -- indeed, to the chagrin of purists, for many listeners Boone's records remain better-known than the original performances.
Between 1956 and 1963, Boone made some 54 chart appearances, many of them with two-sided hits; his biggest smashes included the number one records "Don't Forbid Me," "Love Letters in the Sand" and "April Love," all three issued in 1957. That year he also began hosting his own ABC television series, The Pat Boone-Chevy Showroom; he also conquered film, starring in 15 features including 1957's Bernadine and April Love. Although his TV program ceased production in 1960, Boone remained a major star as the new decade dawned, and in 1961 again topped the charts with "Moody River." He even became an author, writing a series of self-help books for adolescents including Twixt Twelve and Twenty, Between You, Me and the Gatepost and The Care and Feeding of Parents. Although the rise of Beatlemania put the brakes on Boone's run as a teen idol -- after 1962, he failed to again crack the Top 40 -- he continued recording for Dot through the late 1960s, and in his live performances regularly appeared with his wife and their four daughters, further reinforcing his family-friendly image.