Best-selling female singer of the 1950s;
Born: November 8, 1927; Died: January 1, 2013.
Patti Page, who has died aged 85, was one of the biggest female singing stars of the 1950s and was best known for Tennessee Waltz and (How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window? The songs made her a star and she spent most of the rest of her life touring the world. When she died, she was just five days away from being honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys.
Page, whose real name was Clara Ann Fowler, was born in Claremore, Oklahoma, into a big family of three boys and eight girls. She got her stage name working at radio station KTUL, which had a 15-minute programme sponsored by Page Milk Co. The regular Patti Page singer left and was replaced by Fowler, who took the name with her on the road to stardom.
Jack Rael, a band leader, heard her on the radio and called KTUL asking where the broadcast originated. When told Page was a local singer, he quickly arranged an interview and abandoned his career to be Page's manager. A year later she signed a contract with Mercury Records.
Her first major hit was With My Eyes Wide Open I'm Dreaming but her biggest-selling record, Tennessee Waltz, was a fluke. Because Christmas was approaching, Mercury Records wanted Page to record Boogie Woogie Santa Claus in 1950. But Page and Rael got hold of Tennessee Waltz, convinced a pop artist could make a smash hit out of it. Mercury agreed to put it on the B-side of the Christmas song and it went on to reach No 1 in the pop, country and R&B charts.
She had many other hits, most famously I Went To Your Wedding and Doggie in the Window and she managed to maintain her career when most singers of her generation were shoved aside by Elvis Presley. She never kept track, but was told later in life that she had recorded more than 1000 songs.
Page and her husband Jerry Filiciotto spent half the year living in southern California and the rest of the time in an 1830s farmhouse in New Hampshire. He died in 2009.
She is survived by her son, Daniel O'Curran, daughter Kathleen Ginn and sister Peggy Layton.
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