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Light her up: Debby Boone still out there somewhere

October 29, 2010
The Mining Journal

When I heard it, the television was on because it was almost time for the local evening news. My ears couldn't believe it. Neither could my brain.

But there it was coming through my TV: Debby Boone singing "You Light Up My Life."

Holy flashback, Batman.

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Suddenly, it felt like 1977 again. That song was on every time I turned on the radio that year. The first time I heard it, "You Light Up My Life" was sappy but OK. It wasn't like I rushed out to buy a copy of it but I didn't hate it.


A few weeks after the initial listen, that song drove me up the wall because it was on the radio ALL THE TIME.

To hear it again after all these years was rather odd, to be certain. Dropping the sponge I was using to scrub the bathtub, I wandered into the living room to look at the TV instead of just listening to it. And sure enough, there standing on the stage of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" was Debby Boone herself, singing her signature hit.

Debby Boone, bless her heart, looks better than she did in 1977. She's 54 now but is still youthful and gorgeous. Because my attention was not on the show when she and Oprah were speaking before the song performance, I had to look online to find out why the heck Debby's back on TV singing that ever-loving song.

Turns out Debby is touring the country, performing songs her mother-in-law loved. Her mother-in-law wasn't just anyone, though. Rosemary Clooney was Debby's husband's mom.

Ms. Boone has a new CD called "Reflections of Rosemary" and it contains 14 songs related in some manner to Ms. Clooney.

To find out more, I went to Debby Boone's official website ( and here's what the scoop is: Debby selected songs that her mother-in-law made famous or that had special meaning to the famous singer from the 1950s.

The song list includes some tunes I adore as well: "Blue Skies," "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," "You're Gonna Hear From Me..." On the website, you can click on the song title to read an explanation about why Boone chose that particular song. And you can hear a sample of each tune as recorded by Debby.

The songs are beautiful, both in and of themselves and in their interpretation by Debby Boone.

The younger generation probably doesn't know, but after Debby Boone's mega-hit of the aforementioned "You Light Up My Life" sold more than four million copies and led to her winning a Grammy as Best New Artist, she became the punchline of many jokes. Why?

Because she had a nice-girl image. She was wholesome at a time when being a "bad girl" was more the "cool" thing to do. The thing is, she didn't seem to care. She continued to just be who she was.

She'd probably got that from her dad. Debby's father, Pat Boone, had been mocked for his clean-cut image for a long time before she was, which probably didn't help Debby in the eyes of the media. Of course, Pat Boone has made sport of that squeaky-clean portrayal, going as far as recording a heavy-metal album a few years back.

It's nice to discover Debby Boone has lived a lovely life in the 33 years since she had her moment in the spotlight. She and her husband, Gabriel Ferrer, have four kids and have written six children's books together.

While that song drove me crazy because it was overplayed to the max back in 1977, it's wonderful to know Debby's thrived all these years by being true to herself, even if it didn't make her "cool" in the eyes of others. Good for her.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her e-mail address is



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