Patti Page

Patti Page
Patti Page

Patti Page was born in 1927 in Oklahoma.   She was avery popular U.S. recoriding  star in the 1950’s.   Her songs included “Tennessee Waltz” in 1950 and “Old Cape Cod”.   She co-starred in the 1962 movie “Boy’s Night Out” with Kim Novak and James Garner.   She died in 2013.

Dave Laing’s obituary in “The Guardian”:

With record sales estimated at more than 100m, which included more than a dozen million-selling singles, Patti Page, who has died aged 85, was one of America’s favourite popular singers of the 1950s. She was dubbed “the Singing Rage”, and her alto voice was often double tracked, on hits such as Mockin’ Bird Hill(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window and, her signature song, Tennessee Waltz.

Page’s first big hit was With My Eyes Wide Open, I’m Dreaming, in 1950. In the same year, she recorded Tennessee Waltz. This had already been a great success in versions by its composer, the country singer Pee Wee King, and others, but Page’s recording, again with overdubs of her vocals, outsold them all. This inaugurated the period of her greatest popularity. More country songs were given the Page touch, such as Mockin’ Bird Hill and Detour, both bestsellers in 1951, while the 1952 tearjerker I Went to Your Wedding was memorably parodied by the comedy bandleader Spike Jones.

The 1953 novelty (How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window, was Page’s only British hit, and faced strong competition from several other recordings, including one by Carole Carr, with children’s chorus and Rustler the dog, and a version by Lita Roza that reached No 1.

Page also specialised in songs about American places and landscapes, notably Allegheny Moon, which reached No 2 in the charts in 1956, and Old Cape Cod, a No 3 hit the following year. Her final top 10 hit of the decade was Left Right Out of Your Heart in 1958. Among Page’s albums were Folk Song Favorites (1951) and Manhattan Tower (1956), a version of a Gordon Jenkins narrative tone poem produced by her musical director Vic Schoen.

By the end of the 50s, the arrival of rock’n’roll had dented the popularity of Page and her contemporaries. She would have only one more big hit single, the film theme Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, in 1965. However, she continued to record and perform occasionally until the 1990s, finding a new audience among country music fans. She received several honours from the music industry and was due to be presented with a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys ceremony in February 2013.

She was born Clara Ann Fowler in rural Oklahoma, the 10th of 11 children of a railway worker and a farm labourer. While still at school, she started work in the art department of a Tulsa radio station. Her vocal skills soon led to her promotion to become the voice of the Patti Page Show, a daily 15-minute programme sponsored by the local Page Milk Company.

The broadcasts attracted the attention of Jack Rael, the manager of a Texas orchestra, the Jimmy Joy band. She joined the band in 1946, taking with her the name Patti Page. With Rael as her personal manager, Page left the band a year later to essay a solo career, beginning with a broadcast at a Chicago radio station, where she was accompanied by a small group led by Benny Goodman.

Almost immediately, Page was signed by Mercury Records, a recently founded Chicago record company, as their “girl singer”. Her early recordings were supervised by Mitch Miller, a former orchestral oboist. Her first disc, Confess, featured the then novel multitrack technology, enabling Page to provide her own backing vocals.

Page hosted television shows in the 50s, and was a frequent guest on the programmes of Ed Sullivan, Steve Martin and others. She also appeared in the 1960 film Elmer Gantry.

She was married three times, first to Jack Skiba, then to the choreographer Charles O’Curran and thirdly to a maple-syrup magnate, Jerry Filiciotti. Her first two marriages ended in divorce and Filiciotti died in 2009. She is survived by a son, Danny, and a daughter, Kathleen.

• Patti Page (Clara Ann Fowler), singer, born 8 November 1927; died 1 January 2013

• This article was amended on 6 January 2013. The film Elmer Gantry was not a musical.

“The Guardian” obituary on Patti Page can also be accessed here.

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