Pat Boone: I'm Too Busy To Retire

Singer Pat Boone
AP Graphics Bank
After more than 50 years in show business, Pat Boone has absolutely no plans to hang up his white bucks and retire.

"My wife is begging me to, for about, well, seven or eight years now," Boone told The Showbuzz, from Branson, Mo. where he was Grand Marshall of the Veterans Day parade. "The ability to initiate things and, of course, the offers keep coming in and it's hard to turn them down if all your life as a professional you responded to good offers. So it's hard to turn down a state fair tour each year and a Christmas tour since I'm one of the few who still does that."

The 72-year-old singer got his start as a 1950s teen idol, crooning ballads like "April Love" and "Love Letters In The Sand" and selling more records than anyone else in that decade except Elvis Presley.

In the 1960s and 70s, Boone's clean-cut, conservative image became the antithesis of hipness. As his style of music fell out of favor, Boone found success in country and gospel music instead of pop.

In 1997, Boone famously made an attempt to turn his image on its head with the heavy metal album "In A Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy."

His appearance in leather biker gear on that year's American Music Awards freaked out many in his conservative Christian fan base. The album didn't win him any heavy metal fans, either.

But Boone won back his gospel music audience, and a few years later was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

In November, Boone released "Pat Boone's America: 50 Years," a 150-page coffee table book with 200 pictures spanning a half-century in show business.

Looking back over the past five decades, Boone said that it was actually his work as a film actor that provided his most memorable career highlight.

"I think perhaps (it was) the world premiere of 'Journey to the Center of the Earth,'" he said. "At that point 'Cleopatra' was about to sink the studio, they were in such deep debt because of (Richard) Burton and (Elizabeth) Taylor and their highly publicized romance delaying filming."

Although the studio still had a lot of financial trouble ahead, Boone said the success of the film helped stave off foreclosure for a little while.

"It really proved to people I was something of an actor," added Boone. "I played a young Scottish lad, Alexander McEwan, with a Scottish accent and I wasn't just a singer kid from Nashville. There've been command performances with queens and presidents, but that's what pops into my head."