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In the Spotlight: Patti Page


In the Spotlight: Patti Page

Patti Page in the early '50s



Clara Ann Fowler, November 8, 1927, Claremore, OK; died January 1, 2013, Encinitas, CA


'50s Pop, Adult Contemporary, Countrypolitan, Country, Novelty



Claims to fame:

  • The most popular female vocalist of the American postwar period
  • The best-selling female singer of the 1950s
  • Mixed pop and country in a way that would influence decades of artists
  • Her "Tennessee Waltz" was for many years the second-biggest-selling single of all time, behind only "White Christmas"
  • The only singer to have separate successful weekly TV shows on all three networks
  • One of the first singers to harmonize with herself on record
  • A mainstay of adult pop that held after the rock and roll explosion

Early years:

Though born into a large family so poor she often went barefoot, the girl born Clara Ann Fowler nonetheless displayed a natural talent... with a pen. While still attending high school, she managed to get a job working in the art department of Tulsa radio station KTUL, but when the station manager overheard her singing one day, she soon got a job as an in-house vocalist. The local Page Milk company sponsored a 15-minute radio program featuring country or "hillbilly" music, employing a vocalist it renamed "Patti Page"; when the normal singer came up absent one day, Clara became the new Patti. She liked the name so much she kept it.


Although she had a natural affinity for country, Patti's smooth, warm alto was well-suited to all kinds of pop, and she soon found herself in demand as a big-band vocalist, first with Jimmy Joy (who'd heard her on KTUL) and then with Benny Goodman after she played a gig with him in Chicago. Soon Mercury Records came calling, but while her first few sides stiffed, a song written for Vic Damone, titled simply "Confess," was offered to her; when budget and union concerns meant there were no backup vocalists available, her manager suggested she overdub herself. The resulting novelty was a success. Nearly 120 chart hits followed, many of them country songs retooled for sophisticated pop audiences.

Later years:

As the very embodiment of postwar pop balladry -- and some would say banality, given her penchant for novelties like "How Much is That Doggie in the Window" -- Patti naturally suffered on the charts after the rock and roll invasion. However, she switched gears smoothly, moving back into country music, and later, into adult contemporary; as a reassuring symbol of the older generation, she also flourished on television, hosting several variety shows. In the 1980s and '90s, she moved in and out of semiretirement, but eventually returned to the stage and the studio several times. She retired for good in September 2011, and died in early 2013 of natural causes at the age of 85.

Patti Page awards and honors:

  • GRAMMY Award (1999)
  • GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award (2013)
  • GRAMMY Hall of Fame (1998)
  • Academy of Country Music Pioneer Award (1979)
  • Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame (1997)
  • Hit Parade Hall of Fame (2007)
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame (6760 Hollywood Blvd.)
  • Country Music Walk of Fame

Patti Page facts and trivia:

  • Was known as "The Singing Rage"
  • Came from a family of 11 children
  • Mentioned in the Beach Boys song "Disney Girls"
  • Regained some popularity in the late 1990s when "Old Cape Cod" was sampled for the Groove Armada song "At the River"
  • Had never visited Cape Cod when she recorded the song
  • Her theme from Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte was nominated for an Oscar
  • Her hometown renamed a segment of a state highway as Patti Page Boulevard, while Centerville, MA named a street "Patti Page Way" in honor of bringing visitors to Cape Cod
  • Has an uncredited cameo as an airline passenger in Elvis' 1961 film Blue Hawaii
  • Later toured with a revival of the musical Annie Get Your Gun

Patti Page hit songs and albums:

#1 hits
  • "All My Love (Bolero)" (1950)
  • "Tennessee Waltz" (1950)
  • "I Went to Your Wedding" (1952)
  • "(How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window" (1953)
Top 10 hits
  • "I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine" (1950)
  • "Would I Love You (Love You, Love You)" (1951)
  • "Mockin' Bird Hill" (1951)
  • "Mister and Mississippi" (1951)
  • "Detour" (1951)
  • "And So to Sleep Again" (1951)
  • "Come What May" (1951)
  • "Once In a While" (1952)
  • "Why Don't You Believe Me" (1952)
  • "You Belong to Me" (1952)
  • "Butterflies" (1953)
  • "Changing Partners" (1953)
  • "Cross Over the Bridge" (1954)
  • "Steam Heat" (1954)
  • "What a Dream" (1954)
  • "Let Me Go, Lover!" (1954)
  • "Allegheny Moon" (1956)
  • "Old Cape Cod" (1957)
  • "Left Right Out of Your Heart" (1958)
  • "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1965)
Adult Contemporary:
  • "Go on Home" (1961)
  • "Most People Get Married" (1962)
  • "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1965)
  • "Custody" (1966)
  • "Gentle on My Mind" (1967)

Other notable Patti Page recordings:

"Confess," "Say Something Sweet" with Vic Damone, "So in Love," "Money, Marbles, and Chalk," "I'll Keep the Lovelight Burning," "With My Eyes Wide Open, I'm Dreaming," "Back in Your Own Backyard," "Down the Trail of Achin' Hearts," "Whispering Winds," "Ever True, Ever More," "These Things I Offer You," "Retreat (Cries My Heart)," "Conquest," "My Jealous Eyes," "Oo! What You Do to Me," "This Is My Song," "The Strangest Romance," "Now That I'm in Love," "Father, Father," "Piddlily Patter Patter," "Croce di Oro," "Go on with the Wedding," "My First Formal Gown," "Too Young to Go Steady," "Mama from the Train," "Every Time (I Feel the Spirit)," "Repeat After Me," "A Poor Man's Roses (Or a Rich Man's Gold)," "The Wall," "I'll Remember Today," "Belonging to Someone," "Another Time, Another Place," "Fibbin'," "Trust in Me," "Walls Have Ears," "Goodbye, Charlie," "The Sound of Music," "Two Thousand, Two Hundred, Twenty Three Miles," "One of Us (Will Weep Tonight)," "I Wish I'd Never Been Born," "Don't Read the Letter," "A City Girl Stole My Country Boy," "Mom and Dad's Waltz," "You'll Answer to Me," "A Broken Heart and a Pillow Filled with Tears," "The Boys' Night Out," "Pretty Boy Lonely," "Say Wonderful Things," "You Can't Be True, Dear," "Happy Birthday, Jesus (A Child's Prayer)," "Ribbons and Roses," "In This Day and Age," "Almost Persuaded," "Music and Memories," "Walkin', Just Walkin'," "Little Green Apples," "Same Old You," "Stand by Your Man," "The Love Song," "I Wish I Had a Mommy Like You," "Give Him Love," "Make Me Your Kind of Woman," "I'd Rather Be Sorry," "Think Again," "Hello, We're Lonely" with Tom T. Hall, "I Can't Sit Still," "You're Gonna Hurt Me," "Someone Came to See Me," "I May Not Be Lovin' You," "Less Than the Song," "No Aces," "A Poor Man's Roses (Or a Rich Man's Gold)," "My Man Friday"

Movie and TV appearances (movies in italics): "The Ed Sullivan Show" (1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1956, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1967, 1970), "The Scott Music Hall" (1952, 1957), "The Jackie Gleason Show" (1952, 1955, 1966, 1968), "I've Got a Secret" (1953), "The Colgate Comedy Hour" (1955), "Person to Person" (1956), "What's My Line?" (1957), "American Bandstand" (1957), "The United States Steel Hour" (1957), "The Big Record" (1957, 1958), "The Patti Page Oldsmobile Show" (1958-1959), "The Steve Allen Plymouth Show" (1959), "Kraft Music Hall" (1959, 1961, 1968), "The Dinah Shore Chevy Show" (1960), "The Bob Hope Show" (1960, 1969), Elmer Gantry (1960), Dondi (1961), "Bachelor Father" (1961), Boys' Night Out (1962), "The Hollywood Palace" (1964), "The 37th Annual Academy Awards" (1965), "Magic Mansion" (1966), "The Dean Martin Comedy Hour" (1966), "The Hollywood Squares" (1967), "The Joey Bishop Show" (1967), "The David Frost Show" (1970), "Hee Haw" (1972), "The Mike Douglas Show" (1976), "American Bandstand's 25th Anniversary" (1977), "ABC's Silver Anniversary Celebration" (1978), "NBC 60th Anniversary Celebration" (1986), "The History of Rock 'N' Roll," (1995), "Moments to Remember: My Music" (2006)

Covered by: Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Tom Jones, James Brown, LaVern Baker, Bette Midler, John Prine, Dean Martin, Leonard Cohen, Robert Goulet, Petula Clark, Jerry Vale, The White Stripes, Norah Jones, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Manfred Mann, Guy Mitchell, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Anne Murray, Jo Stafford, The Four Freshmen, Groove Armada, Lita Roza, Lacy J. Dalton, Holly Cole, Dottie West, Eva Cassidy, The Chieftains, Billy Vaughn, Spike Jones, Homer and Jethro, Billie Jo Spears, The Fontaine Sisters, Lenny Welch, Kitty Kallen and Georgie Shaw, Guy Lombardo, Percy Faith, Alma Cogan, Bobby Comstock and the Counts, Jerry Fuller, Johnny Jones, American Spring, Hem, The Puppini Sisters

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