Patti Page, one of the most popular singers of the 1950's, passed yesterday at the age of 85.
Patti Page was born Clara Ann Fowler on 8 November 1927 in Claremore, Oklahoma, a small town outside Tulsa. She was working in the art department of KTUL in Tulsa, Oklahoma when an executive heard her sing and asked her to take over a show sponsored by Page Milk Company. On the show she was called "Patti Page," after the show's sponsor. She kept the name even after she left the show to perform with the Jimmy Joy Band.
Miss Page was signed to Mercury Records in 1947. Her first single, "Confess," went to #12 on the Billboard singles chart. She followed it up with several other hits, including "Say Something Sweet," "So In Love," "With My Eyes Wide Open, I'm Dreaming," and "I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine." The year 1950 would prove to be a banner year for her. It was that year Patti Page had her first number one single, "All My Love (Bolero)." That same year she would have her biggest hit, "Tennessee Waltz," which hit number one on the Billboard singles chart and stayed there for thirteen weeks. From the Fifties into the Sixties Patti Page would have a long string of hits, including "Mockin' Bird Hill," "Detour," "I Went to Your Wedding," "You Belong to Me," "Why Don't You Believe Me," "(How Much Is That) Doggie In the Window," "Allegheny Moon," and "Old Cape Cod." Miss Page appeared frequently on television in the Fifties. on shows from All Star Revue to The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1953 she was on Scott Musical Hall. In 1955 she was the host of a syndicated show called The Patti Page Show. In 1957 she hosted The Big Record. In 1959 she was the host of The Patti Page Oldsmobile Show.
Unfortunately with the coming of rock 'n' roll, Patti Page's career went into decline. While she still had hits in the late Fifties, they did not do quite as well on the charts. From 1960 to 1966, her only major hit was "Hush... Hush Sweet Charlotte." It was not long before "Hush... Hush Sweet Charlotte" was released that she signed with Columbia Records. While her songs with Columbia Records did not do particularly well on the Billboard Hot 100, they were often quite successful on the Adult Contemporary chart. Among her songs that did well on the Adult Contemporary chart were "Gentle On My Mind," "Little Green Apples," and "Stand by Your Man."
It was in 1970 that Patti Page returned to Mercury Records. She remained with them for about three years and shifted her career towards country music. She had hits on the country chart, including "I Wish I Had a Mommy Like You," "Give Him Love," and "Hello, We're Lonely." In 1973 she returned to Columbia Records, where she released a few more country singles. Starting in 1974 Miss Page went on a five year hiatus. In 1980 she signed with Plantation Records. In 1981 she hit the top forty on the Billboard Hot 100 when "No Aces" went to #39.
Miss Page would only release a few more singles, and one more album (Brand New Tennessee Waltz in 2000). She continued to perform well into the Naughts and was the host of an interview programme on the "Music of Your Life" radio network.
There can be no doubt that Patti Page's phenomenal success was largely due to her voice. She had a beautiful alto voice that was to listening what silk is to touch. What is more, she had a sincerity about her singing that allowed her to perform such songs as “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window” without sounding silly. It must also be pointed that Miss Page was highly adaptable when it came to music styles. Her biggest hit, "Tennessee Waltz," not only hit the pop chart, but the country and rhythm and blues charts as well. Over the years she performed everything from novelty songs (“How Much Is That Doggie in the Window") to pop standards ("So in Love") to jazz ("Nevertheless"). Few performers had voices as beautiful as that of Patti Page, and very few were ever as adaptable as her with regards to music styles.