Created on: January 04, 2013
It was a sad day for the music world as the top selling female vocalist of the 1950’s, Patti Page passed away on January 1, 2013. She sold more than 100 million records over her career and is probably best remembered for the hits “The Tennessee Waltz” and “How Much is that Doggie in the Window”.
Born Clara Ann Fowler on November 8, 1927, she was as American as apple pie. She was raised in Claremore, Oklahoma, near Tulsa, and was one of 11 children. Her father was a railroad man and the family grew up poor.
Clara’s singing career began in Tulsa where she was given the new name Patti Page by radio executives, and obviously it stuck. Many consider Patti to be the first cross over singer topping both the country and the pop charts.
Patti never lost her nice girl image and it was who she truly was. In an interview she once said “I’m sure there are a lot of things I should have done differently. But I don’t think I’ve stepped on anyone along the way. If I have, I didn’t mean to.”
In 1950 her iconic hit “Tennessee Waltz” spent 13 weeks in the #1 spot on the Billboard Chart and was also was #1 on the R&B and Country charts at the same time. It is one of two songs adopted as the official songs of the State of Tennessee. In 1953 “Doggie in the Window” was number 1 on the Billboard Chart for 8 weeks.
While these songs seem a bit insipid by today’s standards, the world was a different place in the early 50's. The world was still recovering from the war and it was the kind of music that people wanted to hear and to buy. It did unfortunately typecast her as the decade moved into the era of Rock and Roll. When questioned about it she said, “It was right after the war and people were waiting to just settle down and take a deep breath and relax.”
Her last hit “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte”, the theme song for the Bette Davis movie of the same name, was nominated for an Academy Award and Patti sang it live at the award ceremony in 1965.
She is scheduled to be presented with a life time achievement award at a Special Ceremony on February 9th in Los Angeles by the Recording Academy. Her big hits came before the creation of the Grammy’s in 1959 and she received her one and only Grammy in 1999 for her “Live at Carnegie Hall” recording of her 1997 concert celebrating her 50 years of performing.
Her career included a variety of short lived TV shows on all three major networks and she continued to work up until just a few years ago when health reasons forced her to discontinue her career.
Patti married twice first in 1956 to Charles O’Çurran whom she divorced in 1972 and again in 1990 to Jerry Filiciotto. She is survived by a sister Peggy Layton, two children, son Danny O’Curran and daughter, Kathleen Ginn as well as several grandchildren.
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Obituary: Patti Page