Wednesday, January 2, 2013

RIP: PATTI PAGE

One of America's musical icons, Grammy-Award winner Patti Page, has died at a nursing home in Encinitas according to her personal manager. In her seven-decade recording career, Page sold more than 100 million records making her one of the most successful female recording artists.

Page performed all over the world and was often asked to sing her biggest-selling record, "The Tennessee Waltz" which she recorded in 1951. Others know her as the voice behind the recording "(How Much Is That) Doggie In The Window."

Unlike most pop music singers, Page blended the styles of country music into many of her most popular songs. By doing this, many of Page's singles also made the Billboard Country Chart. Towards the 1970s, Page shifted her career towards country music, and she began charting on the country charts, up until 1982. Page is one of the few vocalists who have made the country charts in five separate decades.

When rock and roll music became popular during the second half of the 1950s, traditional pop music was becoming less popular. Page was one of the few traditional pop music singers who was able to sustain her success, continuing to have major hits into the mid-1960s with "Old Cape Cod", "Allegheny Moon", "A Poor Man's Roses (Or a Rich Man's Gold)", and "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte".

In 1998, Page recorded her first live album. It was performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and titled, Live at Carnegie Hall: The 50th Anniversary Concert. The album won Page a Grammy Award the following year for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance which, despite her prolific career, was her first Grammy. In 2000, she released a new album, Brand New Tennessee Waltz, which consisted of new music. Harmony vocals were provided by popular country stars, including Suzy Bogguss, Alison Krauss, Kathy Mattea, and Trisha Yearwood. The album was promoted at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee in 2000. On October 4, 2001, Bob Baines, the mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire declared the day "Patti Page Day" in the town. Miss Page was in Manchester to perform a sold-out concert at the Palace Theatre to benefit Merrimack Valley Assistance Program.


In 1998, a sample of Patti Page's recording of "Old Cape Cod" formed the basis of Groove Armada's 1998 UK hit "At the River". The lines "If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air, / Quaint little villages here and there..." sung in Page's multi-tracked close-harmony, are repeated over and over, with the addition of synthesizer bass, slowed-down drums and a bluesy trombone solo to produce a chill-out track. The success of this track exposed Page's music to a younger audience.

Until recently, Page was a host of a weekly Sunday program on the "Music of Your Life" radio network. She and Jack White of The White Stripes were interviewed in January 2008, after the White Stripes recorded Page's early 1950s hit, "Conquest" on their 2007 studio album, Icky Thump. Page and White were put together on the phone during the interview, talking to each other about their views on "Conquest."

Page has been married three times. She married University of Wisconsin student Jack Skiba in May 1948 and moved with him to New York, but asked for and received a no-fault divorce in Wisconsin within a year. Her second husband was Charles O'Curran, a choreographer, whom she married in 1956. O'Curran had been previously married to Betty Hutton. Together, Page and O'Curran adopted two children: a son, Danny, and a daughter, Kathleen. They divorced in 1972. Page married her third husband, Jerry Filiciotto, in 1990 Filiciotto died on April 18, 2009. They ran a maple syrup business in New Hampshire and resided in Solana Beach, California.

Page, whose real name was Clara Ann Fowler, died Tuesday night at the age of 85 according to staffers at the Seacrest Village nursing home in Encinitas. She had bill in for some time. The singer called Rancho Santa Fe her home for the last four decades. She was set to be honored with a life-time achievement award at the Grammys in February...
 



6 comments:

  1. So sad to hear of the passing of Patti Page - but you've honored her with a very nice tribute. Will always have fond thoughts of her - her "Tennessee Waltz" was a favorite of my dad's. I didn't realize she lived her later years in the area where I grew up (lucky lady, it's beautiful in Northern San Diego County).

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  2. A great article about Patti -- Thank you! It's a lot better discussion of Patti's career than anything I've seen in the newspapers. In my opinion, one of Patti's "best" albums is "Manhattan Tower." It was re-released on CD a few years ago and I bought it not really knowing what to expect -- it's become one of my favorite CDs -- well worth listening to.

    http://www.sepiarecords.com/sepia1100.html

    Thanks again for the great article -- and blog!

    Dave in British Columbia

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  3. Thank you for this lovely tribute to Patti Page. I was saddened when I read of her passing. I saw her concert at Carnegie Hall. One thing I specifically remember is when she described how the multi-tracking was done. She would record the song once in her usual key, and then a second time in a higher key, and then a third time with a lot of vibrato (in her usual key, I believe).

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  4. Patti had an outstanding voice full of warmth and was an intelligent interpreter of lyrics. She told a story in her best recordings which made them live for the listener.

    Wonderful tribute full of interesting information.

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  5. Lovely tribute, David. Remember how Mel Torme was called the Velvet Fog? I always thought her voice was the female velvet fog. I miss singers like her -- it seems now we have more shouters than singers!

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  6. Sad to say goodbye to one of the 50s great singers. A wonderful and smooth sound always from Patti. She was a favorite from my teen years in the Fab 50s.

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