Patti Page may be best known as the woman who sang ‘How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?’ and ‘Tennessee Waltz’ but she was also a frontrunner when it came to using pioneering recording techniques, such as vocal overdubs, which she employed on her single ‘Confess,’ when backing vocalists were unavailable due to a musicians’ strike.
Page – born Clara Ann Fowler in November 8, 1927 – started her musical career when a radio executive heard her sing and asked her to take over a country music show entitled Meet Patti Page, sponsored by Page Milk. She went on to keep the adopted name for the duration of her career. When she broke away from her life on the radio, she toured with Jimmy Joy’s band and was later signed by Mercury Records. Her first hit came in 1950 with ‘With My Eyes Wide Open, I’m Dreaming. Later that year, she hit the big time with ‘Tennessee Waltz,’ selling over 10 million copies. It was widely considered to be one of the earliest crossover hits, spending months on the pop, country and rhythm and blues charts.
Patti Page sings 'Tennessee Waltz'
Patti Page, the lady that made her fame from songs such as ‘Tennessee Waltz’ and ‘How Much Is That Doggy In The Window’ passed away on January 1, 2013, aged 85. Her music may have been written off by critics for being too lightweight and bland but still, Patti Page was one of the best-selling artists of her time. ‘Tennessee Waltz’ sold 10 million, alone, despite being relegated to the B-side of ‘Boogie Woogie Santa Claus,’ expected to be a throwaway hit.
Page, described by the Washington Post as a “superstar of the post-World War II era” was one of the most successful artists of her era and in many ways, was a pioneering one. She was one of the first pop artists to use the technique of over-dubbing, made a necessity when a musicians’ strike prevented her from finding any backing vocalists for her single ‘Confess.’ She once explained to the Philadelphia Daily News “I couldn’t get anyone to sing backup vocals. So we bounced the recording from one acetate disc cutting machine to another, with me adding on the harmonies.” She later went on to perform all four of the four-part harmonies on ‘With My Eyes Wide Open, I’m Dreaming,’ and the label listed the vocals as being by “Patti Page, Patti Page, Patti Page and Patti Page.”
Page was born Clara Ann Fowler in Claremore Oklahoma in 1927 into a family of modest income. She is survived by two children, a sister, 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Her death was confirmed by her manager Michael Glynn, though the cause of her death was not yet known.