Oct 03

PAT BOONE – “I’ll Be Home”

Popular15 comments • 2,335 views

#47, 15th June 1956

It’s my belief that no pop song with a ‘spoken bit’ can be all bad, though Pat Boone does his best to test my resolve with a lifeless, dreary epistolary ballad, good in 1956 for a grope and a smooch perhaps, but good in 2003 for nothing. Only point of interest – why isn’t Pat home? The army, you’d think – and talk of returning so he can start “serving you” hints he’s serving something else right now. But he also sings how “once more our love can be free” – can clean-livin’ Pat be in prison?! On the evidence of this inert offering, wherever he is it’s somewhere they censor the letters.



  1. 1
    wichita lineman on 28 Aug 2008 #

    Most of these criticisms don’t chime right to me, and this is one of the harsher ratings on Popular. While he effectively started whitebread Xtian pop, I do find the better Pat Boone’s ballads (this Flamingos cover, Friendly Persuasion, Love Letters In The Sand) at least as effective as Love Me Tender – history tends to forget that he was seen as the good-guy sheriff to Elvis’s Man In Black throughout 56/57, and a genuine equal.

    As a rocker Boone was as effective as David Whitfield, but the mellifluous “please wait for me” leading into the sweet octave change on I’ll Be Home anticipates Roy Orbison, Morten Harket, and a square-jawed, unbreakable sound that could well indicate incarceration for the wrong reasons: soldier, prisoner of war, or someone similar to Henry Fonda’s tragic character in The Wrong Man. In which case, Pat, I’m afraid she won’t be waiting.

  2. 2
    DJ Punctum on 28 Aug 2008 #

    Rather fanciful projections there and I guess from an American perspective Korea and/or nascent Vietnam was/were in mind, i.e. our love can be FREE from those DIRTY COMMIES (since Republican ideas of “freedom” have always inclined to “freedom from” rather than “freedom to”).

    Best coming out of jail love letter as pop song: “Care Of Cell 44” by the Zombies.

  3. 3
    Mark G on 28 Aug 2008 #

    The b-side being “Tutti Frutti”!

    “She’s a real gone cookie, yes siree!”

  4. 4
    wichita lineman on 28 Aug 2008 #

    Plenty of doo wop and soul songs about going off to serve the homeland (A Casual Look by the Six Teens being a fave of mine), and I never think of them as commie bashing. I’ve never heard the Flamingos’ original of I’ll Be Home, but I think projecting Republican ideas onto the song just because it’s Pat Boone is a little unfair.

    Tutti Frutti, Ain’t That A Shame, Long Tall Sally: gawdelpus, these really are crimes against pop, Ain’t That A Shame in particular which sounds quite unpleasantly aggressive. Totally at odds with the genre, they remind me of Derek Nimmo’s tv appearance in bondage gear (DJP please tell me I didn’t dream this up).

    Care Of Cell 44, yes siree. And, oddly enough another single from the same year about a gal coming out of prison, Kitty by Cat Stevens: “When my little Kitty gets out, there’s gonna be a party no doubt!”

    Do these constitute genuine guilty pleasures?

  5. 5
    DJ Punctum on 28 Aug 2008 #

    No, sir, you did not dream this up.

    GP should be shot on sight but not for stupid reasons as per Maconie’s asinine column in this week’s Radio Times.

  6. 6
    Billy Smart on 28 Aug 2008 #

    Nimmo came over very well in that clip, I thought. Within the confines of such an insert, he gave the punks a fair hearing.

  7. 7
    Mark G on 28 Aug 2008 #

    I’d defend PB’s rock and roll cover versions, up till that point R&R was the devil’s work, after that it crossed over to the mainstream and people seeked the originals out.

  8. 8
    wichita lineman on 28 Aug 2008 #

    Of historical significance, agreed, but they are so stiff that even the early British r&r covers swing by comparison (the Beverley Sisters’ Bye Bye Love!). Little Richard has always ‘thanked’ Pat, though, for unintentionally helping him break through.

    Yes, hats off to Nimmo. It was more the image of him than his attitude that I recalled.

  9. 9
    DJ Punctum on 28 Aug 2008 #

    The Beverley Sisters doing “Bye Bye Love”??? Thankfully that hasn’t passed under my radar.

    I loved the Steeleye Span version, though. They also did a brilliant acappella cover of “Rave On.”

  10. 10
    DJ Punctum on 28 Aug 2008 #

    This weather’s terrible. August? November more like!

  11. 11
    Matthew on 10 Jan 2009 #

    First #1 I don’t seem to be able to find on YouTube (“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” is something different, right?), apart from a middle-aged Japanese guy doing a karaoke version. Oh well, doesn’t seem like I’m missing much.

    ETA: The B-side is easy to find though!

  12. 12
    Billy Smart on 23 Mar 2009 #

    Light entertainment watch: Pat Boone occasionally appeared on British television. None of these performances survive;

    THE LONDON PALLADIUM SHOW: with Jimmy Tarbuck (Compere), Pat Boone, The Kaye Sisters, Morlidor Trio (1966)

    SHOW OF THE WEEK: Pat Boone (1966)

    SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE LONDON PALLADIUM (VAL PARNELL’S …..): with Bruce Forsyth, Pat Boone (1956)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Pat Boone, Max Bygraves, The Kaye Sisters, Joe Brown, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Micky Ashman’s Ragtime Jazz Band, Ted King (1962)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Pat Boone, Gerry And The Pacemakers, The Tornados, Jimmy Justice, The Polka Dots, Freddie and the Dreamers, Cherry Roland, Keith Fordyce (1963)

    As is often the case, only his later apperances survive;

    THE BIG TOP VARIETY SHOW: with Bernie Winters, Pat Boone, Showaddywaddy, Rod Hull and Emu (1981)

    THE VAL DOONICAN MUSIC SHOW: with Paul Daniels, Pat Boone (1981)

    WOGAN: with Pat Boone, Linda Lusardi, Buddy Rich, Earl & Countess Spencer (1986)

  13. 13
    Eli on 21 Jan 2011 #

    I agree with #1, @wichita. I just knew Popular would hate this, and at the risk of sounding like a teenage girl from 1956, I think it’s a very nice record. I’m not keen on Pat’s politics, but he had a lovely, pure voice. American soldiers may have been drafted for the Cold War: “Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops remained stationed in West Germany, with others in Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, until the 1990s in anticipation of a possible Soviet attack.” (Ah, thank you Wiki.) It only made #6 in the USA. I imagine National Service in the UK took it to #1 over here (more of that on another 1956 chart-topper soon).

    I’m afraid I quite like Pat’s R&B covers for kitsch value. Amazing to think that as wichita says, he was Elvis’ main rival for record sales in the late 50s. Elvis turned down “Don’t Forbid Me”, which Pat took to #2. I think it’s a credible performance as a rocker.

    Pat Boone is a definite guilty pleasure for me…

  14. 14
    Eli on 21 Jan 2011 #

    NB. This record kept Elvis’ debut UK chart entry, Heartbreak Hotel, from the #1 spot. The week it entered, No Other Love was still #1.

  15. 15
    Gareth Parker on 9 Jun 2021 #

    (#5) I think you should be ‘shot on sight’ ‘sir’. 3/10 for Pat.

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