Veteran pop music singer Pat Boone poses for photos at the 24th Annual American Music Awards January 27 in Los Angeles, California. Boone, best known for his uplifting lyrics and songs in the 1950s and ‘ 60s, was dressed as a punk rocker to promote his new album where he plays songs of the heavy metal rock bands such as Led Zeppelin and Metallica.
As a celebrated singer and actor Pat Boone decided to turn to heavy metal in 1997, he had no idea that it would be almost ban him from the Christian community.
It is no wonder he was hesitant to move to the music of dark side.
“Heavy metal has a dark picture and in a lot of cases, you have to bleep the lyrics,” the 84-year-old told Fox News. “[Numbers], sometimes, about the devil and demonic things.”
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The ’50s star is currently busy traveling the world and performing for his fans.
But Boone admitted that he still is asked about his album titled “In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy”, where he shed his squeaky-clean image and re-interpreted famous rock songs.
Boone said the concept began as a joke among his band members as they were looking to create something new. But soon after, they found themselves a visit to the record stores and go through the heavy metal trays.
“People wondered why I was looking for the albums of Scorpion and Motorhead, and for actually buying them,” he chuckled. “I thought: ‘Smoke on the Water’ had to be on drugs. But it was not. I thought ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ by Jimi Hendrix was talking about marijuana. But it was not. It was about an affair he had with a girl he still loved with the name Maria. It was a tribute to Mary, not marijuana.
“‘Stairway to Heaven’, I thought Jimmy Page was into witchcraft. And I think that he was. And this strange, opaque texts, maybe they were on drugs. But I could not find a reference to something in the texts.
“‘Sandman’ by Metallica is about a father carrying his son to bed and try to scare him in the time-honored tradition of telling him the boogeyman was going to get him if he doesn’t stay in bed. It is a very innocent story with a very ominous sound.”
Boone insisted he went by “scores and the scores of the songs” pick the right coverage. And some of the lyrics have some tweaking to his tight persona.
While he expects some fans to gawk at his latest creation, he had no idea of the scandal that would occur at the American Music Awards this year.
For Boone’s appearance on the televised ABC ceremony, he appeared in a chest-baring leather vest, a spiked collar, and temporary tattoos for comic relief. However, it was not to laugh under his conservative fans.
“The Christian community was very shocked,” he admitted. “My show has been removed from the TBN. A lot of people said, ‘We lost Pat Boone. He is defecting to the dark side.’… It was a big overreaction. I was taken Christian TV for 2-3 months.”
Boone was offered the chance to appear in a live broadcast on the Trinity Broadcasting Network to offer disappointed viewers an explanation — and he did.
“There were about 60 Christian bikers parked in front of the TBN,” he said. “What had I done? There was nothing wrong with it. It was just a different style.”
During the broadcast, Boone revealed that while he had no regret of going to heavy metal in an attempt to try something new musically, he was sorry if the prices getup offended fans.
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Boone said that despite the scandal, he is still proud of the daring album.
“Look, Alice Cooper is the son of a minister,” he explained. “He was really bad with drugs and alcohol, but then became a strong Christian… And luckily, I was reinstated… I have this album, but the audience does not need to be alarm by it because I went through all the songs with a fine tooth comb.
“There was nothing in that text that I had to apologize for. They never lost me… I was just like Pat Boone trying to do, songs that I have found. And I did it in a different way.”
Plus, there was one person Boone got the stamp of approval of his metal effort: the Prince of Darkness himself.
His cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s 1980 hit “Crazy Train” was used as theme song for MTV’s reality TV show “The Osbournes”, which aired from 2002 to 2005.
Boone said the rock star is actually his real-life neighbor.
“I had just recorded the song before he sat next to the door,” Boone explained. “But the plate was not out yet. I went out to get the mail one day after he moved in. He comes shuffling down the sidewalk to get into a black Escalade. I hear myself say, something I’ve never dreamed of saying to Ozzy Osbourne. ‘Hello neighbor!’ He said: “I’m on my way to an AA meeting, but when I’m back we can get a cup of tea, OK?’ And that we did!”
Ozzy Osbourne was Pat Boone’s neighbor.
Boone said the Osbournes lived next door for three years, and they remained friends. Ozzy and his wife Sharon, even asked the singer, presenter, when she later hosted the American Music Awards.
“Sharon always said, ‘Don’t miss that Pat Boone?’ he recalled. “And he would go, ‘Oh, he was the best bleep neighbor we have ever had!'”
And while some may gawk at the unlikely friendship, Boone said fans should not worry about that.
“[Ozzy] was raised in a very rough town of England,” said Boone. “And he said that he knew that he was either going to be a criminal or an entertainer. I love him (and his family]. They are good people.”