Debby Boone was born September 22, 1956 in Hackensack, New Jersey, the daughter of singer and 1950s icon Pat Boone and Shirley Lee Foley Boone (daughter of country music star Red Foley). When Boone was 14 years old, she began touring with her parents and three sisters - Cherry, Lindy and Laury. The sisters recorded as the Boones. Although they primarily recorded gospel music, they twice reached Billboard's AC charts with "When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes" (No. 25) and "Hasta Manana" (No. 32) which featured Debby as lead vocalist.
You Light Up My Life
Boone released her first solo effort, You Light Up My Life, in 1977. The song became the biggest hit of the 1970's on the Billboard Hot 100 spending 10 weeks at the No. 1 - longer than any of her father's No. 1 Billboard hits. At the time, only Elvis Presley's double-sided Don't Be Cruel/Hound Dog spent more weeks (11) atop Billboard's Hot 100. The song earned her a Grammy award for Best New Artist and an American Music Award for Favorite Pop Single. She also received Grammy nominations for Best Pop Female and Record of the Year. You Light Up My Life also reached No. 1 Adult Contemporary (one week) and No. 4 Country. The single and the album (No. 6 Pop, No. 6 Country) of the same name were both certified platinum. Boone's overnight success led to a tour with her father and frequent television appearances.
The song, written and produced by Joe Brooks, was from the film of the same name. Brooks earned Song of the Year awards at both the 1978 Grammys and Oscars for writing the song. Boone's version, contrary to popular belief, was not used in the movie or featured on its soundtrack. The song was lip-synched in the film by its star, Didi Conn, performing to vocals recorded by Kasey Cisyk. Although written as a love song, Boone admitted it was instead God who "lit up her life."
Boone was unable to maintain her success in Pop music after You Light Up My Life. Her follow-up single, California (also written and produced by Joe Brooks), stumbled peaking at No. 50 Pop and No. 20 AC. California was included on Boone's second album, Midstream, which faltered at No. 147 Pop. Her next single, the double-sided God Knows/Baby I'm Yours, performed even worse peaking at No. 74 Pop becoming her last entry on the Hot 100. However, the single returned Boone to the Country (No. 22) and AC (No. 14) charts. Boone then released another movie theme, When You're Loved, from The Magic of Lassie. Like You Light Up My Life, the song was nominated for an Academy Award for its composers, the Sherman Brothers. But, it failed to replicate the chart success of her first single only reaching No. 48 AC. Boone's wholesome persona was in contrast to the image-conscious Pop music industry leading her in different musical directions.
 Country Music
With the crossover success of You Light Up My Life and God Knows/Baby, I'm Yours, Boone began to focus on Country music. (Her father, Pat, and maternal grandfather, Red Foley, had also recorded in that genre.) Her first country single, 1978's In Memory Of Your Love, fizzled at No. 61. But, she then hit No. 11 in 1979 with a remake of Connie Francis' My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own. Boone amassed three more Top 50 country singles that year - two more Connie Francis remakes (the No. 25 Breakin' In A Brand New Broken Heart and the No. 48 Everybody's Somebody's Fool) and a remake of the Happenings' See You In September (No. 41 Country, No. 45 AC). Boone included the Francis remakes, but not See You In September, on her 1979 eponymous album which failed to chart.
Her next album, 1980's Love Has No Reason (No. 17 Country), was produced by Larry Butler who guided much of Kenny Rogers' music during this period. It resulted in the No. 1 Country and No. 31 AC hit, Are You On The Road To Lovin' Me Again. Two weeks before Road ascended to No. 1, Boone was part of a historic Top 5 on the Billboard Country chart. For the week ending April 19, 1980, the Top 5 positions were all held by women:
Crystal Gayle (It's Like We Never Said Goodbye)
Dottie West (A Lesson In Leavin')
Debby Boone (Are You On The Road To Lovin' Me Again)
Emmylou Harris (Beneath Still Waters)
Tammy Wynette (Two Story House with George Jones)
The album generated two more Country singles, the No. 14 Free To Be Lonely Again and the No. 44 Take It Like A Woman. The latter charted simultaneously with her father's Colorado Country Morning (No. 60). Butler also produced Boone's next album, 1981's Savin' It Up (No. 49 Country), which yielded two more country singles, the No. 23 Perfect Fool (also No. 37 AC) and the No. 46 It'll Be Him.
 Broadway Bound
Boone wrote her autobiography, Debby Boone So Far, in 1981 and spent a year touring the United States with the stage adaptation of the film Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. The play was a success nationwide before reaching Broadway in July 1982. The Broadway reviews were lackluster, but a scathing review by the New York Times led the show to close after just five performances. The day after the show's closing, several of the the show's stars and theater-goers protested the closing outside the New York Times building hoping for a retraction of its review and the re-opening of the show. But, despite the enthusiastic reception of the show from Broadway theater-goers, the producers believed that the show could not overcome its reviews and the show remained closed.
Boone continued her theater work appearing periodically in stage productions nationwide including lead roles in Camelot, Meet Me In St. Louis, Mississippi Love, South Pacific, The Human Comedy and The King And I. Boone returned twice to the New York stage. Her 1990 performance as Maria in The Sound Of Music at Lincoln Center garnered her a Drama Desk nomination. In 1996, Boone played against her image as Rizzo in the 1990's revival of Grease.
Boone occasionally acted on television as well. Her first foray into television was a 1978 musical adaptation of O'Henry's The Gift Of The Magi co-starring John Rubinstein. Boone headlined two of her own NBC television music specials - The Same Old Brand New Me (1980) and One Step Closer (1982). She stunned many in 1984 by portraying Clarissa Hope, a former call girl turned Christian singer, in the television movie, Sins Of The Past. The film, co-starring Anthony Geary, Barbara Carrera and Kim Cattrall, was a Top 10 Nielsen hit. Boone also made guest appearances on several television shows including Step By Step and Baywatch Nights and was featured in the television films Come On Get Happy: The Partridge Family Story and Treehouse Hostage.
 Faith and family
After Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, Boone followed her heart and turned her musical career to Christian music winning two GMA Dove Awards and two more Grammys. Boone first recorded in this genre in 1980 with the Grammy winning With My Song ... I Will Praise Him. Subsequent Christian albums included Surrender (1983), Choose Life (1985), Friends For Life (1987) and Be Thou My Vision (1989). In 1989, Boone released her Christmas album, Home For Christmas, which boasted a duet with her mother-in-law, Rosemary Clooney, on Clooney's signature White Christmas.
Boone's career was always secondary as she devoted herself first to raising her four children: son Jordan (b. 1980), twin daughters Gabrielle and Dustin (b. 1983), and daughter Tessa (b. 1986). Boone married her husband, Gabriel Ferrer (son of Jose Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney and cousin of George Clooney), in 1979. The couple collaborated on several children's books. Boone wrote Bedtime Hugs For Little Ones (1988), Tomorrow Is A Brand New Day (1989), Snow Angel (1991), Welcome To This World (1996), Nightlights (1997) and Counting Blessings (1998) which were all illustrated by her husband. Boone and her children appeared frequently on the cover of Good Housekeeping magazine as they grew. Boone also released two children's videos, Debby Boone's Hug-a-Long Songs: Volumes 1 and 2.
Once her children were grown, Boone revived her recording career in 2005 with the release of Reflections Of Rosemary. The CD was a fond tribute to her mother-in-law, Rosemary Clooney, featuring songs performed by Clooney as well as other songs not associated with Clooney which Boone felt showed Clooney as the person she and her family knew and loved. Boone toured extensively for the album including several nights at New York's famed cabaret, Feinstein's, where Clooney often performed.
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