Patti Page Biography

Clara Ann Fowler, 8 November 1927, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. A popular singer who is said to have sold more records during the 50s than any other female artist, Page’s total sales (singles and albums) are claimed to be in excess of 60 million. One of eight girls in a family of 11, Clara Fowler started her career singing country songs on radio station KTUL in Tulsa, and played weekend gigs with Art Klauser And His Oklahomans. She successfully auditioned for KTUL’s Meet Patti Page show, sponsored by the Page Milk Company, and took the name with her when she left. Jack Rael, who was road manager and played baritone saxophone for the Jimmy Joy band, heard her on the radio and engaged her to sing with them; he later became her manager for over 40 years. In 1948 Page appeared on the top-rated Breakfast Club on Chicago radio, and sang with the Benny Goodman Septet. In the same year she had her first hit record, ‘Confess’, on which, in the cause of economy, she overdubbed her own voice to create the effect of a vocal group. In 1949, she used that revolutionary technique again on her first million-seller, ‘With My Eyes Wide Open I’m Dreaming’. The song was re-released 10 years later with a more modern orchestral backing.

Throughout the 50s, the hits continued to flow: ‘I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine’, ‘All My Love’ (US number 1), ‘Tennessee Waltz’ (said to be the first real ‘crossover’ hit from country music to pop, and one of the biggest record hits of all time), ‘Would I Love You (Love You, Love You)’, ‘Mockin’ Bird Hill’ (a cover version of the record made by Les Paul And Mary Ford, who took multi-tracking to the extreme in the 50s), ‘Mister And Mississippi’, ‘Detour’ (recorded for her first country music album), ‘I Went To Your Wedding’, ‘Once In A While’, ‘You Belong To Me’, ‘Why Don’t You Believe Me’, ‘(How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window’, written by novelty song specialist Bob Merrill, and recorded by Page for a children’s album, ‘Changing Partners’, ‘Cross Over The Bridge’, ‘Steam Heat’, ‘Let Me Go, Lover’, ‘Go On With The Wedding’, ‘Allegheny Moon’, ‘Old Cape Cod’, ‘Mama From The Train’ (sung in a Pennsylvanian Dutch dialect), ‘Left Right Out Of Your Heart’, and many more.

Page’s records continued to sell well into the 60s, and she had her last US Top 10 entry in 1965 with the title song from the Bette Davis-Olivia De Havilland movie Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte. Page also appeared extensively on US television during the 50s, on shows such as the Scott Music Hall, the Big Record variety show, and her own shows for NBC and CBS. She also made several films, including Elmer Gantry (1960), Dondi (1961, a comedy-drama, in which she co-starred with David Janssen) and Boys Night Out (1962).

In the 70s, Page recorded mainly country material, and in the 80s, after many successful years with Mercury Records and Columbia Records, signed for the Nashville-based company Plantation Records, a move that reunited her with top record producer Shelby Singleton. In 1988, Page gained excellent reviews when she played the Ballroom in New York, her first appearance in that city for nearly 20 years. More than 10 years later she won a Grammy Award in the Traditional Pop Vocal Performance category for her album Live At Carnegie Hall - The 50th Anniversary Concert. In the new millennium Page continues to record and perform at select concerts.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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