AUGUST 29, 2021


During my high school years, this was a big question—were you a Pat Boone fan or an Elvis Presley fan?  In Tennessee, we were pretty fond of both of them.  But I generally preferred the clean-cut smooth crooner’s voice of Pat Boone.  After all, he grew up in Nashville, was a member of the church of Christ and went to Lipscomb High School and briefly, Lipscomb College.

I started following him when he was on the Arthur Godfrey and Friends daytime television show while finishing up at Columbia University.  At 19, he married Red Foley’s daughter Shirley, and they had four little daughters. 

My brother Glenn got this autographed photo of Pat for me when he appeared at the famous Randy’s Record Room in Gallatin to promote his latest record.  Glenn’s little daughter Emily (about 2 or 3) sat on a stool to have her photo made with Pat that day.  I passed that photo along to her daughter Katie a few years ago.

The Connellys knew Pat and Shirley when they were in high school, and Inez often provided a listening ear for Shirley whose mom had died several years earlier. During my Junior year at Lipscomb, Pat came to give a concert in the gym and Tom and I went. When he had his ABC Chevy Showcase television show, a group of us from Lipscomb got a backstage tour when we were in New York City for a journalism conference.

This photo of Elvis’ statue was taken on our recent road trip when we stopped by his birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi.  Elvis of course outstripped Pat in his musical career—and has continued to be even more famous after his premature death. Heather, Patrick and I made a pilgrimage to Graceland in Memphis. His ex-wife Priscilla has devoted her life to continued promotion of his musical legacy.

The Pat-Elvis competition in the 1950s was fun.  Today I would most likely say Elvis is my favorite. Things change.

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