Gary "Pig" Gold Examines...
April Fools' Hall of Fame
By: Gary "Pig" Gold
QUESTION: Should Pat Boone be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?
Seems a simple, even innocent enough little inquiry, doesn't it? But I swear, seldom in all my quarter-century-plus of Piggery has one topic -- one MAN, in fact -- inspired so much fervorus rancor from all sides of the critical fence as it were.
Me? Well, I've yet to make my mind up either. But then again, I still can't decide whether Van Halen ate one worse with Diamond Dave or Sammy the Hagar at the helm. Ho-humm.
Nevertheless, it being THAT time of year again, here's what a far-from-scientifically-surveyed cast of illustrious musical characters DID have to say about Pat and that Hall in question--.
Phil Kaufman, Road Mangler Deluxe
Pat Boone? Pop Hall Of Fame --or the White Buck Shoe Hall. But NEVER Rock 'n' Roll! (P.S.: Where is the "ROADIE Hall" ?)
R. Stevie Moore, DIY home recording iconoclast (whose father Bobby actually attended East Nashville High School with Pat!)
Yes! Debate irrelevant... 50 hits, reason enough!
I've been knowed to be WRONG! (but not very often!!!)
Oh Pat. Tutti Flooty,
(a/k/a Speedy "Elian" Gonzalez)
Carol Kaye, Bassist on many of the Greatest Records Ever Made
I think that Pat Boone should be inducted in the RRHOF because, regardless of who he supposedly "copied" or tried to "sound like," he did something no other singer of his time did: He brought pop-rock into the mainstream of music, in a pretty good way I'd say.
P.S.: I played guitar (and then bass later) on many of his things. He was doing stuff back then that the ordinary pop singer didn't do at all.
Jeff Tamarkin, former editor, "Goldmine" Magazine
Of course not, but I don't believe James Taylor should've been either. Neither one is a rock 'n' roll singer.
Stephanie Chernikowski, world-renowned photographer (--who actually once received a kiss from the PRE-ARMY Elvis!!)
Absolutely not. He is not rock 'n' roll.
Bob Brainen, DJ, WFMU-FM
It's all relative, and there are people nominated and selected that have less to do with rock 'n' roll than him. As far as his place in the scheme of things, he was someone who watered down rock 'n' roll, but I enjoy some of his records, so I'd say YES.
For one, he put out a great record produced by Terry Melcher called "Beach Girl" in '64 (written by Melcher and Bruce Johnston, who also did backing vocals). The flip-side was "Little Honda."
Joe Viglione, The "Count"
Pat Boone - no!
Peter Noone, the Artist formerly known as Herman
If he is inducted before Davy Jones from the Monkees and Tommy Lasorda, who surely are more to do with rock 'n' roll than Pat Boone, I will make Little Jimmy Osmond the editor of "Q Magazine."
Tommy Womack, Cheese Chronicler Deluxe
No, no, no, no and HELL no.
Mike McDowell, "Blitz" Magazine
Does Pat Boone belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle
I've heard Boone on this subject -- the popularizer vs. the innovator -- and while he's right about the significance of the popularizer, his records were too god awful to last. I'm sorry, his "Tutti Fruitti" doesn't hold up, while Bill Haley's "Rip It Up" may out-rock Little Richard (boo! heresy!).
I say vote for Fabian. When it comes to phony rock and rollers, he's the real deal.
Beverly Paterson, "Twist And Shake" Magazine
Yes, Pat Boone should be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Simply on the basis of his heavy metal album from a few years ago!
Geoff Cabin, "Rock Beat International" Magazine
I am opposed to the entire concept of a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - music is not a competitive sport where an individual's performance can be statistically measured against another individual's performance.
If we are going to have a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, however, the answer to the question of whether Pat Boone should be inducted into it depends on what criteria is used for induction.
I don't know the actual criteria, but I would look at two things:
(a) Did the person make any significant musical contribution to rock 'n' roll?
(b) Did the person play a significant role in rock 'n' roll history?
In the case of Pat Boone, the first question is easily answered. No, he did not make any significant musical contribution to rock 'n' roll. His only musical "contribution" was to record watered-down versions of songs originally recorded by Fats Domino and Little Richard for sale to the white teenage audience. If making a significant musical contribution is the sole criteria for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Pat Boone definitely should not make it.
If we go on to the question of whether Pat Boone played a significant role in rock 'n' roll history, however, things get much more difficult. The question of Pat Boone's role in rock 'n' roll history is complicated by the emotionally-charged racial issues involved. It is also a question that is particularly difficult for someone of my age (part of the "blank generation") to assess in retrospect, given the fact that Boone has been all but written out of rock 'n' roll history.
On one hand, it can be argued that Pat Boone did play a positive role in rock 'n' roll history by exposing white teenagers to the music. On the other hand, it can be argued that Boone exploited and ripped off the music of black artists and had success that rightfully should have been theirs. Either way you look at it, however, there is no denying (as much as some people would like to) that Pat Boone did play a significant role in rock 'n' roll history.
If the purpose of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is to document rock 'n' roll history (as I think it should be), then I think the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has to deal with Pat Boone.
Jon Sievert, Humble Press
NEVER! Pat Boone was the ultimate anti-rock 'n' roll figure, created by record companies for the sole purpose of shielding white America from the likes of Fats and Little Richard while ripping them off.
And his music really sucked, which should be the ultimate criteria for determining worthiness.
Irwin Chusid, "Songs In The Key Of Z"
I have a DEFINITE opinion on the matter.
The answer, by the way, is Yes.
Domenic Priore, Sunset Strip Historian
No. Unless Phil Collins gets in. Because they are equals.
Lee Greenfeld, "Sound Views" Magazine
Well no, but... he DID manage The Leaves!!!
Jon Pressman, The Voice of Butterscott
HALL OF FAME!!! YESYESYES!!! PAT BOONE!!! GO GO GOOO!!!!
Andrew Gold, The Fraternal Order Of The All
Sure. Why not? Because he's a square?
Besides, he wrote the words to my Dad's hit of the theme from Exodus ("This Land Is Mine").
Brett Milano, Bosstown journalist
Yes, but only by virtue of that cocktail version of "Stairway to Heaven" he did a few years ago.
Lisa Mychols, The Masticators
The fact that Pat Boone even had even an inkling of a thought of changing "Ain't That A Shame" to "ISN'T That A Shame" makes me wonder if he even knows what rock 'n' roll is! When rock 'n' roll was fresh, new, and exciting.... where was he? He was singing Adult Contemporary! He wanted to make that song adult contemporary!!!!!!
J. D. Considine, music journalist
What a non-issue.
Seriously, Donny Osmond has a better shot of getting in than he does. It isn't just because he's a joke now -- he was a joke back then, when people actually bought his records.
A better question would be why Black Sabbath has been nominated three times and still hasn't gotten in. But that, I suppose, is another poll.
Phil Angotti, The Idea
No, absolutely not. He doesn't have a rock 'n' roll bone (boone) in his body.
Mick Farren, Dog-Poet at the Cathouse
My first instinct was no, never: It would be insult to Little Richard: RICHARD BOONE did more for rock 'n' roll as far as I'm concerned.
But then I thought, yeah, why not? It only shows the RRHOF as the dumb hype tourist trap farce it really is.
Induct everyone! Tiny Tim, The Chipmunks, One String Sam, Frank Stallone, The Big Bopper. I mean, where's Syd Barrett, or Roky Erikson, and did they ever get round to Gene Vincent?
I can't even keep up with the self congratulatory nonsense. It's the Paul Shaffer world and I don't go there.
Bruce Farley Mowat, occasional writer for "Canoe," "The Globe & Mole -- er, Mail," "Canadian Pig -- er, Press," and head of the "Black To Comm" Canadian Bureau
There are a number of things to consider in the context of this question:
First of all, does the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame accurately reflect the genre itself?
I think not, and to prove my point, consider the reaction of Pete Seeger, when that old banjo strummin' guy was indicted -- er, inducted: He went up to the podium with a facial expression that was equal parts confusion and disgust.
You see, Seeger HATED (and probably still hates) "rock 'n' roll" right from the get-go. So, to be honored with such an award was a) either a backhanded face-slap or b) completely misguided.
I'm guessing it was based on the latter principle.
However, if the minions that be in the RRHOF want to let Boone in, it would be totally consistent with their aesthetic parameters. In short, to quote another HOF'er: Sure! "Open the door and let him innn-innn, oh yeah". Because it just doesn't matter any more.
Kim Cooper, "Scram" Magazine
When I was fifteen, the headmaster of my freaky new age alternative school somehow arranged that his students would appear on Pat Boone's Christian cable show.
As all of the other kids and teachers were desperate to be televised, I was unable to get out of joining this group at the taping, which took place in Pat's large suburban tract home high above the Sepulveda Pass -- in a street of houses notorious for having been built atop improperly sealed landfill!
There was no way in the world that I was going to appear on a Christian TV show hosted by someone who had turned vital '50s rock 'n' roll into namby-pamby candyfloss, and I was saying as much to my pal Chris when Pat ambled over to ask why we weren't with the other kids. I'm pretty sure he heard enough of my screed to get the point, but he was extremely gracious and we reciprocated.
Chris and I sat out the taping, remarking that Pat didn't seem like such a bad guy, really. I don't think he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but then many of the past inductees don't either, and his entry would at least inspire debate.
His fifties' recordings presumably generated royalties for some deserving folks and helped ease the mass acceptance of rock songwriting. I haven't felt the need to demonize Pat Boone since the day he played it so cool with a couple of snotty kids. And you gotta admit, that heavy metal phase was a hoot.
Freddie Patterson, Brooklyn Neat Guy Poet
The only honest answer to this question is: Who cares?
Since about 1994 the so-called Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inductees have been less and less rock 'n' roll. I mean please, look at this list of fairly recent inductees below. I dare you to name more than two rock 'n' roll songs recorded by each of them:
Simon and Garfunkel, Elton John, The Bee Gees, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Joni Mitchell, The Eagles, The Mamas and the Papas, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Dusty Springfield, Eric Clapton, Earth, Wind & Fire, James Taylor, David Bowie, The Grateful Dead, Rod Stewart.
I mean, really. Billy Joel? Joni Mitchell? JAMES FUCKIN' TAYLOR!!! These people NEVER made rock 'n' roll records.
In the Hall Of Fame's second year Ricky Nelson was inducted. Although he did make a handful of records that can be construed as real rock'n'roll, his songs that charted -- the ones that he is known for -- are NOT rock 'n' roll. Well-crafted teenage pop records, yes. Rock 'n' roll? I think not. And the fact that Ricky was inducted two years before Hank Ballard should tell you how little the Hall really regards rock 'n' roll.
Pat Boone may have recorded a rock 'n' roll record early in his career, but he, too, is not known for them (you certainly can't call his covers of Fats Domino songs rock 'n' roll ...ANTI-rock 'n' roll, maybe!).
But Pat Boone may as well be in the Hall, along side Crosby Stills & Nash, David Bowie and other shucksters. No one dumb enough to go to Cleveland will know the difference, anyway.
Ian Whitcomb, Ragtime Raconteur and one-time Father of Irish Rock
I'm assuming by your tone that you assume most rocksters to have nothing but contempt for Pat Boone. But I have always liked his music and the man himself.
In fact, I have very fond memories of his version of "Love Letters In The Sand," since it was to his record that I received my very first kiss from a teenager called Debbie Briggs in a punt (that's a low flat-bottomed boat) on a man-made lake at an upper-class holiday resort in East Anglia, England in 1957. Needless to say, I was a teenager, too. And what a kiss it was! Sent tingles all over me and I've never had an experience as intense since. Boone's record was what got her going.
What these silly myopic rocksters don't understand is that Boone was a crooner in the great tradition of crooners, going back to the 1920s. And the mellifluous and comforting voices of the best crooners will continue to spread contentment long after the noxious caterwauling of the Dylans have been buried in a black hole.
During MY rock 'n' roll period I appeared as a guest on The Pat Boone Show, where I sang "You Turn Me On" to my uke accompaniment. Then I handed the uke to Pat who proceeded to strum and sing "Love Letters In The Sand" while Soupy Sales and I provided a tasteful doo-wop backing noise. I told Pat the story of the kiss. He seemed impressed at the time. I have this show on film to prove that I'm not lying. I've been known to invent, you know, but this was for real.
I'm sorry Boone decided to go heavy metal, thus denying his impeccable wasp background. Somebody must stand up for pure white traditions and if it has to be me, so be it.
Chad Stuart, Chad & Jeremy
WHY PAT BOONE SHOULD NOT BE INDUCTED INTO THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME:
Because he didn't make a genuine contribution to the art form.
Because he made records which were a pale imitation of the genuine article.
Because he never poured his heart and soul into his recordings.
Because he was a pop singer, and they don't count.
(The "pop" hall of fame, maybe.)
Henny de Pater, Dutch Country D.J. Association
Will, or Must, Pat Boone be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
Like Elvis, he did a lot of sweet ballads. My old girlfriend loved that warm and tender voice, and by telling her that Pat Boone was MY favorite too (but then, what I DIDN'T tell her was I was really a Rocker at heart!), I scored many points and left other guys, who were after that same girl, far far behind me.
That's why "good old " Pat ought to be inducted: So that other people won't forget him either.
Rob Morgan, "Poplust" Magazine
2 words: "FUCK NO"!
No further explanation necessary!
J. R. Taylor, "New York Press"
It's understood that some people consider Boone to be an agent of oppressing the poor black artists. But, unlike Hall-of-Famer Woody Guthrie, Pat Boone never took money from the Communists to tour our country as a Nazi sympathizer. And if this is new to anybody, then it's no wonder they waste their time worrying about Pat Boone being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Bill Kelly, DJ, WFMU-FM
I LIKE several of Pat Boone's songs. But I don't think he belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, because his appeal and presentation was decidedly "pop" and not rock 'n' roll.