Pat Boone: No More Mr Nice Guy (1997)

 |   |  1 min read

Pat Boone: No More Mr Nice Guy (1997)

When the cleanest white-bread rock'n'roll singer of the late Fifties sings "no more Mr Nice Guy, no more Mr Clean" you know he's well in on the joke -- and that if you bought the album this came from (In a Metal Mood) then the joke was on you.

First, they might have been hard rock songs he was covering (Smoke on the Water with Richie Blackmore on guitar, It's a Long Way to the Top, Enter Sandman etc) but there was barely a blazing guitar within earshot.

Pat certainly put on the leather waistcoat for the cover shot (he's on a chopper on the back) but he wasn't so dumb to make an absolute arse of himself: these are mostly swinging big band treatments or orchestrated ballads (Love Hurts) . . . and some not bad.51Am9_gEQ5L._SL160_AA160_

But the self-awareness is slightly double-edged too: on AC/DC's It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock'n'Roll) the lyrics tell of getting ripped off and so on . . . which is exactly what a lot of black artists thought when he turned their raw rock'n'roll into safe-as-milk and rather bloodless versions which did serious chart damage while their originals languished.

To hear Pat's version of Little Richard's Long Tall Sally is to witness a song with the life drained out of it.

And yet . . .

There has been a very good case made that Boone-- who is interviewed here --  was also a conduit for those on their way from conservative white Christian America into the darker and more edgy world of black r'n'b and rock'n'roll. He was a stepping stone, the warm up act, the door opener. Maybe.

So in his early 50s why a rock'n'roll parody album? Because Boone, to the surprise of many who just read him as a Christian conservative, had a sense of humour. Unfortunately his own folks didn't get it and  he was ousted from the Gospel America television show until he explained the joke of him in black leathers.

So "no more Mr Nice Guy"?

Nope, it was business as usual after this slight digression.

As far as I'm aware Little Richard was unavailable for comment.

For more one-offs, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Leon Russell: Back to the Island (1975)

Leon Russell: Back to the Island (1975)

Leon Russell is like the Kevin Bacon of rock: there are six degrees of separation between him and anyone else. Actually, that's not true. There are about three. Leon to the Beatles? Well he was... > Read more

Donovan: Season of the Witch (1966)

Donovan: Season of the Witch (1966)

When the world was getting very mellow in the mid Sixties, Donovan -- who would subsequently sing Mellow Yellow and had already embarked on a folkadelic path --recorded the dark side of the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Mumbai, India: A day in Bombay; an in-depth report

Mumbai, India: A day in Bombay; an in-depth report

It's a joke of course, ticking off things to see in a day in Mumbai (which many still call Bombay). Here's a city of around 18 million souls where it can take three hours in stop-start traffic... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Robin Nathan

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Robin Nathan

Over here at Elsewhere we don't have little ones but that doesn't stop us enjoying children's books and sometimes even music aimed at the wee folk. Our favourite local artist making music... > Read more