THE BLOG

Why Pat Boone Believes He Helped Black Artists by Covering Their Songs

05/29/2015 09:51 am ET | Updated May 29, 2016

Tonight I'm joined by legendary singer Pat Boone. Throughout his 60-year career, the entertainment icon has sold more than 45 million albums and had 38 "Top 40" hits. Boone is being honored at the Grammy Museum on June 2 and will commemorate his six decades in music with the release of a CD and limited edition vinyl LP, titled Pat Boone: Duets. The project features collaborations with musical giants like Nat "King" Cole and Ella Fitzgerald.

Boone was among the many white artists of the 1950s and '60s who built their careers recording songs originally performed by black Rhythm & Blues artists. In the clip below, he responds to criticisms that he and other white singers profited much more than the African American musicians whose songs they covered.

For more of our conversation, be sure to tune in to Tavis Smiley on PBS. Check our website for your local TV listings: www.pbs.org/tavis.