During his shows, Pat Boone admits he sometimes sees a young person looking quizzically at the grandparent in the next seat.
“You can see he’s thinking, ‘That was a hit?’” Boone laughed during a phone interview from his Los Angeles home.
It was, indeed, a hit. Pat Boone has sold nearly 50 million records in his five decades in show business, from crooning gospel to throaty heavy metal.
Boone will present his “Music & Memories” tour at 2 p.m. Feb. 25-26 at the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville. The autobiographical show is largely him on stage, singing and telling his stories, which never seem to stop.
That’s Wildey “Theatre” with an -re, he noted.
“Theatre is more uppercrust” than the ‘theater’ spelling,” he joked. “I’m at home either place, but I do feel more high class if it’s in one with an -re.”
Boone, now 82, was behind only Elvis Presley for hits in the 1950s, and last released an album in 2006. It hit No. 86 on the Billboard chart.
”As you can see I’m talkative,” he said of show. “The show stretches out and people need another bathroom break.”
Everything about his show is in hopes of one thing: making connections.
“We will relive it together,” he said of the songs he’ll sing and the videos he and the audience will watch together.
His extensive touring schedule over five decades means some of it has blurred.
“So many (performances) go flying by and seem to be like every other show… not that my memory is going to get any better, but I have become part of that person’s life,” he said.
“Every time I have done a show in 60 years as a performer, I became a part of the life and memories of the people who came to see me,” he said without a trace of arrogance, “which includes you tonight, and you are part of me.”
Every time I have done a show in 60 years as a performer, I became a part of the life and memories of the people who came to see me, which includes you tonight, and you are part of me.
Entertainer Pat Boone
First known for his pop career, Boone has also been an actor, writer, television personality, motivational speaker and spokesperson. He has shared his Christian conservative views and voiced robo calls for political candidates, including Donald Trump.
“I figure it’s a responsible use of my ‘celebrity.’ I’m not anti-anybody, but I will speak in favor of candidates.”
“If politics motivate people so much that they won’t (come to shows or buy albums) then that’s the price I pay. ... Even though I was not a fan of (President Barack) Obama, I would never dis him in performances. I would assume a third or a half (of the audience would support Obama), and why would I bring that into my musical show?”
His “Music & Memories” tour extends from Beverly Hills just down the road from his California home, to Edwardsville, to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side in the next few months. He hopes his wife of nearly 65 years, Shirley, will join him there.
Boone created his own record label, the Gold Label, in the late 1990s “out of anger and optimism.”
The labels were all going to the young people, he said, who face incredible difficulties in getting their own music heard. “It’s far, far more competitive (now),” he said. But he felt the artists of his own generation were being tossed aside.
“To be abandoned, and they’re still out there and performing and selling millions ... I saw that as an opportunity,” he said.
Gold Label artists included Glen Campbell, Lou Rawls and The Four Freshmen. They’re wrapped up in his memories, too.
“I’m going to sing hit songs, maybe that they (the audience) bought, playing videos that no one else but me has, with Ella Fitzgerald and Johnny Mathis, and film clips… and reliving a lot of my life and career. In many cases some of my audience will say, ‘yeah, I remember that.’”
“And we will re-live it together, but even if they don’t remember … they are becoming part of it. To me, it’s a dramatic realization.”
At a glance
Here’s what you need to know about Pat Boone “Music & Memories” show:
- 2 p.m. Feb. 25 and 26
- Wildey Theatre, 252 N. Main St., Edwardsville
- Tickets are $70 and $75