I was saddened today to learn that singer Patti Page died on New Year’s Day. She was 85, having been born Clara Ann Fowler in Claremore, Oklahoma, in 1927.
Over the years, Patti Page sold more than a hundred million records, but she did not always get a lot of respect from music critics. In fact, she was an accomplished singer whose repertoire (and fans) spanned genres. She began as a country singer but is probably best know for her pop hits. Her voice was sure, and she always retained a certain country twang.
Of her well-known songs, “Tennessee Waltz,” “Old Cape Cod,” and “Allegheny Moon.” are my favorites. I am fond of her occasional use of overdubbing, allowing her to act as her own backup singers. (A good example of this technique can be heard in her original recording of “Old Cape Cod.”) “Doggie in the Window” is unforgettable, but a bit cute for my taste.
I own only one Patti Page album, the 1956 In the Land of Hi-Fi (see photo). It is perhaps out of the mainstream of her oeuvre, but it is a prized element of my record collection. My mother bought the album for me along with several other discs to build up my meager LP collection shortly after I got my first phonograph capable of playing LPs.
In the Land of Hi-Fi includes songs by Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, and others. The jazz arrangements on the album are by Pete Rugolo, who also conducts an orchestra of 23 musicians. I have a hard time picking favorite tracks from this album, but I will mention a few favorites: “Love for Sale,” “The Thrill is Gone,” and “Taking a Chance on Love.” This is the album that convinced me that Patti Page was a singer to be taken seriously.
Patti Page was to receive a Grammy for lifetime achievement in February. Unfortunately, the award will be posthumous. I will miss her.
Patti Page entry on Wikipedia
Official Web site