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

Ernest Tubb: It's America, Love It or Leave It (1965)

Ernest Tubb: It's America, Love It or Leave It (1965)

The great patriot Tubb has appeared at From the Vaults before with his mind-numbingly awful It's For God and Country and You, Mom written by Dave McEnery. Ernest clearly like to keep... > Read more

U2: Mysterious Ways (The Perfecto Remix, 1991)

U2: Mysterious Ways (The Perfecto Remix, 1991)

U2 may have reverted to musical type with stadium anthems and those long chiming chords which roll towards singalong or bellicose choruses, but around the time of Achtung Baby and Zooropa they were... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

James Cotton: Cotton Mouth Man (Alligator/Southbound)

James Cotton: Cotton Mouth Man (Alligator/Southbound)

It's extraordinary to think that harmonica player Cotton played with Howlin' Wolf back in the early Fifties and then Muddy Waters, and at 77 he's not only still here but blowing up a hurricane on... > Read more

Milly's Peach & Blackberry (or any berry) Cake

Milly's Peach & Blackberry (or any berry) Cake

Camilla -- aka Milly -- who supplied this Firm Family Favourite says it's her "never fail, loved everywhere" recipe. Having flicked through the recipes at Elsewhere she decided there... > Read more