In August 1977, a confluence of circumstances jettisoned 21-year-old singer Debby Boone into instant stardom with her very first single, the career-defining "You Light Up My Life." The daughter of pop icon Pat Boone and one-fourth of sister act the Boones, Debby's career up to this point had been as part of a choreographed family band channeling their efforts into covering Motown and pop hits as well as contemporary Christian fare. With the Boones newly signed to producer Mike Curb's label, an opportunity arose for Debby to take a crack at a film soundtrack ballad whose initial singer, Kasey Cisyk, had suddenly dropped out of the project. While the film, You Light Up My Life, wasn't a success, Debby Boone's version of its theme song was a colossal chart-topper, earning her a Grammy Award and becoming one of the best-known songs of the decade. With a number one single suddenly on his hands, Curb scrambled to assemble an album around his budding star, and Boone's debut album was released a short time later. Surrounding its title track, the remainder of You Light Up My Life is populated with a handful of similarly earnest inspirational ballads, a few of which -- "A Rock and Roll Song," "Micol's Theme," and "Hey Everybody" -- were penned by Joe Brooks, author of her hit. While largely unremarkable, these songs were apt enough vehicles for Boone's sweet but powerful voice and slotted in thematically with the title song. The remainder of the LP consisted of a hodgepodge of tracks, including the Bob Gaudio (Four Seasons) number "When I Look at You (My Love)," a song written for Debby by her sister Cherry called "It's Just a Matter of Time," and a handful of previously recorded Boones cuts. While credited solely to Debby Boone, it was a transitional record culled from her roots and very much a family affair, as evidenced by the photo of all four sisters on the back cover. Over the next few years, Boone released a handful of proper solo albums to various degrees of chart success, but was unable to replicate the massive success of her first single. Although its title song lived on thanks to numerous compilation appearances, her first album fell out of print and surprisingly didn't make its first digital appearance until 2017. The 40th anniversary expanded edition of You Light Up My Life included additional Boone sisters singles along with a number of previously unreleased solo and family tracks.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger