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Pop and Country Star Patti Page Dies at 85

Patti Page
John Franks, Getty Images

Patti Page, legendary pop and country star has died at the age of 85 in a Southern California nursing home. Page sold more than 100 million records over her incredible career. Her most notable records were ‘The Tennessee Waltz’ and ‘How Much Is That Doggie in the Window’. Page charted more than 81 pop hits between 1948-68, but her sound was as much appealing to country audiences as pop audiences. ‘The Tennessee Waltz’ was one of her most recognizable hits and was a huge hit on both the pop and country charts in 1951. The song was written by Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart who first released the song in 1948. It became the official state song of Tennessee after Page’s version and was inspired by Bill Monroe’s ‘Kentucky Waltz’ from 1946.

Page was born Clara Ann Fowler on 11/8/27 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, but was raised in Tulsa and was known professionally as Ann Fowler in the late 40s. Her big break came thanks to a Tulsa radio show called the Page Milk Company Show on KTUL that featured a singer billed as Patti Page. The original singer left the show and was replaced by Fowler who also took the name and kept it even after leaving the show.

Page had her own TV series called ‘The Patti Page Show’ which ran from 1955-58. In 1957 Page hosted a variety series on CBS called ‘The Big Record’ which gave early exposure to some up and coming artists like Sam Cooke, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino and The Coasters.

Page was set to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy Awards next month. Page was a true pioneer for women in the music business and was one of the first to use a multi-voice effect on some of her records. She is doing her own harmonies on ‘The Tennessee Waltz’ using that technology. Below is a live performance of ‘The Tennessee Waltz’.


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