About the time we were working with Carol Channing, we did a few dates with Pat Boone, the 50’s teen idol. At the time he had his first hit, Elvis was also beginning to make his name known in the rock and roll field. Pat was famous for his clean-cut image and had a number of hits, such as Love Letters in the Sand, (1957), April Love, (1957), Moody River, (1961) and many more.
He and his wife, Shirley were, and still are very outspoken Christians and they traveled at that time with their four daughters, Cherry, Debby, Linda, and Laurey. We traveled and toured with them for a number of dates in the early 1970’s. When we traveled by bus, I wound up sitting with Debby most of the time. Debby was the daughter who had the mega-hit, You Light Up My Life. You don’t hear it much these days, but “You Light up My Life” was actually the single biggest song of the 1970s. It spent 10 weeks at Number One, a record not beaten until 1991 when Boyz II Men stayed on top for 13 weeks in 1991. The song was written as a love song, but Pat Boone’s daughter Debby always interpreted it as a song about her devotion to God.
The song had been turned down by many famous singers and Debby wound up with it. They were a close-knit family and their mother, Shirley, kept a close watch over her daughters. We would go out first and do our set of gospel songs and then Pat Boone would come out and do a show with his girls. Shirley didn’t sing but she was always there to support the family. I have much respect for this family. They’ve been through much adversity but their devotion to each other and to God remain intact, so I am told. So in heaven’s eyes, Pat Boone has made a lot of money and a lot of fame as well, but his children still love and respect him. He’s truly lived a great life.
When it’s all said and done, and your name is placed in the history books, if you were fortunate enough to achieve a level of fame or notoriety, your legacy and your mark in the world is not how much money you made or how many “hits” you had. It will be what you did for the cause of Christ and the upbuilding of His kingdom and did it impact your family too.