He's had huge hits in just about every genre you can imagine, from his polished versions of early rhythm and blues songs ("Tutti Frutti," "Long Tall Sally"), to easy listening classics ("Love Letters in the Sand," "April Love"). He wrote the lyrics for the theme song of the Paul Newman movie "Exodus" and he released a notorious album of heavy metal songs set to big-band jazz arrangements.
But when he performs in Bradenton, Pat Boone will be focusing on gospel music and particularly his latest album, "Legacy." (He'll be performing to prerecorded music instead of a live band.) "If they want it, I might do 'April Love' or 'Love Letters in the Sand,' Boone said in a phone interview from his California office. "I can turn 'Love Letters in the Sand' into a gospel song."
He sings a few lines of "Love Letters" to demonstrate. The gospel version sounds much like his 1957 hit.
Boone will be in town for the 2016 Bill Bailey Winter Music Convention. The popular music festival, which every year draws Christian music fans to Bradenton from all over the country, runs for six days beginning Monday at the Bradenton Area Convention Center. Boone's performance is set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3.
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"Legacy," which came out in October, consists of 17 gospel songs, all written by Boone.
He's been making records for about 60 years, and he's especially proud of this one.
"I'm calling it perhaps my last album," Boone said. "I'm not sure if I want to record anymore. If it is my last album, I want it to be the one I'm remembered for."
His conversation ranges from stories about his former next-door neighbor, Ozzy Osbourne, to his home Bible study groups attended by A-list celebrities whose fame makes it difficult for them to attend church, to his disappointment at not having been recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"I did too many other kinds of music besides rock 'n' roll," he said. "And I didn't live the rock 'n' roll lifestyle."
But it's more imprortant to him, he said, to have been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and he sees his gospel concerts as a chance to profess his beliefs. "When I'm at these events I try to stress that this is a not a club, this is not just a nice way to live your life, which it is," he said.
"It is a life-and-death struggle and we are on the battleground. The battle is for our souls."
Here's the complete music lineup for the 2016 Bill Bailey Winter Music Convention:
7 p.m. Monday: Booth Brothers, Greater Vision, Legacy Five, Erwins.
1:30 p.m. Tuesday: Booth Brothers.
7 p.m. Tuesday: Guy Penrod, Booth Brothers, Mark Trammell Qt, Browns.
1:30 p.m. Wednesday: Tony Gore, Southern Raised.
7 p.m. Wednesday: Pat Boone, Triumphant Qt, Nelons, Blackwood Brothers.
1:30 p.m. Thursday: Goodman Revival.
7 p.m. Thursday: Jeff & Sheri Easter, Karen Peck & New River, Brian Free & Assurance, Whisnants, Tribute Qt.
1:30 p.m. Friday: Talleys, Dennis Swanberg.
7 p.m. Friday: Hoppers, Kingdom Heirs, Ivan Parker, Primitive Qt, Guardians.
1:30 p.m. Saturday: Soul'd Out Qt, Hyssongs.
7 p.m. Saturday: Gold City, Kingsmen, Perrys, Dixie Echoes, Taylors.
Details: Feb. 1-6, Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto. Show times: 7 p.m. Monday, 1:30 and 7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Tickets: Daytime concerts free; evening concerts $18 per day. Six-night pass $95. VIP resreved seats $135. Information: 941-756-6942, billbaileyconcerts.com.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.