We’ve seen Pat Boone at the number one spot before. He did “Ain’t That a Shame,” a cover of the Fats Domino tune and “I Almost Lost My Mind,” which was done by Ivory Joe Hunter. While not hitting number one, he also recorded Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally.” Pat was criticized by some for taking royalties away from black artists, but he didn’t feel that way. He said he talked with both Domino and Little Richard and they were fine with it. It actually ended up helping them by giving them more exposure to a wider audience.
“Love Letters in the Sand” was not based on a former black hit. It was written by J Fred Coots, Nick Kenny and Charles Kenny way back in 1931. It has been done by Rudy Vallee and Bing Crosby among a number of others. As Pat Boone got more and more famous (remember he was the second best selling artist of the Fifties, second only to Elvis Presley,) he got the acting bug (again, just like Elvis) and went west to see if could make it the movies. The first film he starred in was called Bernadine. The movie, originally, did not have music, but since Pat Boone is the lead actor, he has to sing, so they started looking around for music. Pat had recorded “Love Letters in the Sand” a couple years earlier and it seemed to fit the movie, so they included it. Being included in the movie generated enough interest in the song that it went to number one.
There were actually three versions of the song recorded, but Dot Records (who Pat recorded for) decided to use the original as the single.
Pat says he could never understand the appeal of the song. It’s really nothing special, just a nice love song. It certainly didn’t fit into the type of music that was gaining ground in 1957. We have “All Shook Up” coming just before him and “Teddy Bear” (both by Elvis) coming right after him. “Love Letters in the Sand” is an anomaly, sitting there in the middle.
The song entered the chart on June 3, 1957 and stayed at number one for five weeks.
Next – “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” – Elvis Presley