Debby Boone Talks Rat Pack, Clooney & Cafe Carlyle
Onetime pop superstar Debby Boone returns to New York with a new solo show this week and reflected on her Oscar-winning 1970s pop smash, "You Light Up My Life", as well as memories of growing up with her famous father, Pat Boone's, coterie of showbiz friends - Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney included in a new interview with Tom Dworetzky for the New York Daily News.
Boone relates that well-regarded vocalist Rosemary Clooney was an influence and a friend growing up: "Rosemary was one of the biggest hearted, warm and welcoming people I have ever known. It seemed to me that every time I came to her Beverly Hills home, her back door was wide open. If you happened to be there around dinner time you were always asked to stay, and somehow there was always enough to go around."
She continues, "Having had the privilege of working with Rosemary in concert for several years I saw the importance she placed on surrounding herself with the finest musicians and choosing really great songs. It spoiled me, and I never wanted to settle for less. I also was so taken with how beautiful her phrasing was and how she so elegantly communicated the lyrics of her songs. I hope at least some of that rubbed off on me."
Boone also shares insights into her own father's success in the music industry and her strict upbringing, Boone being a infamous conservative, comparing him to no less than the King himself, Elvis Presley.
Boone remembers, "I certainly went through some teenage rebellion, but my dad was about as strict as they come. My rebellion was tame, though, by any standards. Maybe because I had been told that in his early career you were considered a good girl if you were a Pat Boone fan and kind of a wild child if you were and Elvis fan, I joined the Elvis Presley fan club."
And, what about her own pop hit? Boone candidly recounts, "'You Light Up My Life' was my first solo recording and became such a big hit so fast that suddenly I had a career before I knew quite what to do with one."
The Rat Pack and 1960s Vegas forms the foundation of her new Cafe Carlyle show, though. Boone says, "My new show 'Swing This' is about the golden age of early 60s Las Vegas, or more specifically my childhood impressions of it."
She continues, "I had been there as a very young girl while my dad was headlining there. The music I heard and the entertainers I came to know over time had a tremendous influence on me as a performer."
Boone concludes, "This show is like the party I have been waiting my whole life to throw."
Boone has made several appearances on Broadway and in touring productions over the decades, most famously starring in SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS on Broadway in 1982, as Maria in Lincoln Center's 1990 THE SOUND OF MUSIC and as a replacement performer in GREASE in the 1990s, as well as headlining national tours of CAMELOT, THE KING & I, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS and many more.
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Photo Credit: Walter McBride