What single sat atop the Billboard Hot 100 forty years ago this week? You might first guess it was perhaps something by the Bee Gees, who were in their own historical chart-run at this moment. But it was actually “You Light Up My Life” by Debby Boone, which was well on its way to becoming the No. 1 single of the entire 1970s. The record-smashing hit was also featured on an album of the same name, which became a platinum smash in its own right. Despite this success, the album has never appeared on CD…until now! Real Gone Music is rectifying this with the release today of You Light Up My Life: 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition!
Debby Boone began her professional singing career when she was still a teenager at the dawn of the 1970s. The daughter of popular 1950s singer Pat Boone and granddaughter on her mom’s side to country legend Red Foley, Debby started joining with her sisters (Cherry, Lindy and Laury) to support their father in concert while in Japan on tour in 1969 with The Osmonds. The Boone sisters would soon go into the studio to record their first single (in Japanese) for Liberty Records in Japan and then join their father on The Pat Boone Family album for Word Records.
The quartet of sisters moved with Pat to MGM Records and became associated with producer Mike Curb. Over the next several years, they appeared on four additional Pat Boone/Boone Family albums some of their father’s albums and recorded singles as The Boone Girls, The Boone Family, The Pat Boone Family, and The Boones. Gradually, Debby became the lead singer on the sisters’ recordings.
By 1977, The Boones had landed at Warner Bros. Records where Mike Curb had established the Curb Records label. Curb was involved with the soundtrack for the film You Light Up My Life. The movie was written, produced and directed by jingle writer Joe Brooks, who also wrote the score. It starred Didi Conn as an aspiring singer. However, a studio singer named Kasey Cisyk was used to provide the singing voice in the movie. When tensions rose between her and Brooks over the record release, Debby was tapped to provide a vocal for the single of the title track. It was released in August of that year and Debby’s life would be forever changed.
As the single raced up the charts, an album was quickly put together. Released in October of 1977, the You Light Up My Life LP would feature the title track together with three other Joe Brooks songs. It was then filled out with tracks recorded by Debby and her sisters over the years including songs produced by Mike Curb, Michael Lloyd, and Bob Gaudio. The album would reach No. 6 on the Pop and Country charts and become certified Platinum. The song would win the Oscar that year and Debby would pick up the Grammy for Best New Artist. Her solo career had officially gotten underway and Debby would record four more albums for Curb Records by 1981 before focusing exclusively on Contemporary Christian recordings for the remainder of the 1980s and embracing the American songbook in more recent years, including a tribute to her late mother-in-law Rosemary Clooney.
Real Gone’s deluxe new edition expands the original You Light Up My Life album by a whopping thirteen tracks. Here you will be able to trace The Boone Girls’ career from its beginning until 1977. You will find covers of songs by John Denver, The Supremes, and ABBA. Six previously unreleased outtakes are also among the bonus tracks, including revivals of songs by Paul Anka, Lesley Gore, and The Murmaids. Among the other rarities are tracks previously available only on Motown singles: “Please Mr. Postman,” “My Guy,” and “Friend.” The CD is housed in a digipak and has been remastered by Ted Carfrae.
Our very own Joe Marchese has penned the liner notes, including quotes from new interviews with producer/arranger Fred Werner, producer Michael Lloyd and Debby Boone herself. Plus, the booklet features a foreword by Debby’s music mogul mentor Mike Curb, and previously unpublished photos from the Boone archives!
If you would like to go back in time to hear the hottest song of 1977, we’ve got the full track listing and ordering links below! Stay tuned – Debby’s four remaining Warner/Curb albums, plus singles and other rarities, will be making their way to CD in April, 2018 from Real Gone Music!
- You Light Up My Life
- A Rock and Roll Song
- Micol’s Theme
- It’s Just a Matter of Time
- Hey Everybody
- When I Look at You (My Love)
- From Me to You
- Baby I’m Yours
- When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes – The Boones
- The End of the World
- Your Love Broke Through
- Hasta Mañana – The Boones
- He’s a Rebel – The Boones
- My Guy – The Boones
- Please Mr. Postman – The Pat Boone Family (The Boone Girls)
- Friend – The Pat Boone Family (The Boone Girls)
- You Don’t Own Me – The Boone Girls
- Till – The Boone Girls
- Put Your Head on My Shoulder – The Boone Girls
- Popsicles and Icicles – The Boone Girls
- Laugh While I Cry – The Boone Girls
- See If It Comes Out Love – The Boone Gilrls
- Bless the Beasts & Children – The Boone Girls
- Anthem-Revelation – The Boone Girls
- Curiosity Killed the Cat – The Boone Girls
Tracks 1-12 from You Light Up My Life, Warner Bros./Curb Records LP BS 3118, 1977
Track 13 from Warner Bros. single WBS 8446, 1977
Track 14 from Motown single M 1389-F, 1976
Tracks 15-16 from Motown single M 1314-F, 1974
Tracks 17-22 previously unreleased
Tracks 23-24 from Lion single 110, 1972
Tracks 24-25 from MGM single K 14335, 1971 (*)
(*) Track 24 was released on both singles