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'
Her songs, such as the pithy pop of ‘How Much Is That Doggie In The Window’ were considered to be lightweight frippery by the critics but for a post-war USA – it was just the musical relief they were after. She may not have emerged as the country’s most credible artist, but she was certainly one of the most popular and had one of the best sales records.
Patti Page sings 'How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?'
Though the beginning of Page’s career came before The Grammy Awards were brought into existence, she did finally earn herself a Grammy in 1999, for the 1997 recording of her Carnegie Hall performance, which celebrated 50 years of performance for Patti. Though her career faded, she remained a performer well into her 70s. Even in the early years of the 21st century, she was performing between 40 and 50 times per year.
Though her star waned, her influence will not; songs like ‘How Much Is That Doggie…’ may not be hailed as a pinnacle of songwriting excellence but that song in particular has etched itself into global consciousness and remained there for decades; where it will undoubtedly remain for years to come. The over-dubbing techniques that she used at a time when she was required to be resourceful, have now become a staple in modern music recording. In fact they are so taken for granted, that there is no longer the need to write such credits as “backing vocals by Patti Page, Patti Page, Patti Page and Patti Page,” as once appeared, as a quirk, on one of her records.
Patti Page sings 'I Love You For Sentimental Reasons'
Page passed away at the age of 85, on January 1, 2013. Her death was confirmed by the Seacrest Village Retirement Communities, reports the New York Times. That same newspaper described her in 1997 by saying “for her fans, beauty and comfort were one and the same.”