3:59 pm - 01/02/2013

Singer Patti Page dies at age 85

Patti Page, the apple-cheeked, honey-voiced alto whose sentimental, soothing, sometimes silly hits like “Tennessee Waltz,” “Old Cape Cod” and “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” made her one of the most successful pop singers of the 1950s, died on Tuesday in Encinitas, Calif. She was 85. Her death was confirmed by Seacrest Village Retirement Communities, where she lived.

Ms. Page had briefly been a singer with Benny Goodman when she emerged at the end of the big band era, just after World War II, into a cultural atmosphere in which pop music was not expected to be challenging. Critics assailed her style as plastic, placid, bland and antiseptic, but those opinions were not shared by millions of record buyers. As Jon Pareles wrote in The New York Times in 1997, “For her fans, beauty and comfort were one and the same.”

“Doggie in the Window,” a perky 1952 novelty number written by Bob Merrill and Ingrid Reuterskiöld, featured repeated barking sounds and could claim no more sophisticated a lyric than “I must take a trip to California.” It is often cited as an example of what was wrong with pop music in the early ’50s, a perceived weakness that opened the door for rock ’n’ roll. But if that is true, and if the silky voice of “the singing rage, Miss Patti Page,” as she was introduced during her heyday, was mechanical or sterile, she had significant achievements nonetheless.

“Tennessee Waltz,” from 1951, sold 10 million copies and is largely considered the first true crossover hit; it spending months on the pop, country and rhythm-and-blues charts.

Ms. Page was believed to be the first recording artist to overdub herself, long before technology made that method common. Mitch Miller, a producer for Mercury Records at the time, had her do it first on “Confess,” in 1948, when there were no backup singers because of a strike.

The height of her career predated the Grammy Awards, which were created in 1959, but she finally won her first and only Grammy in 1999 for “Live at Carnegie Hall,” a recording of a 1997 concert celebrating her 50th anniversary as a performer. Her career was also the basis of recent, short-lived Off Broadway musical, “Flipside: The Patty Page Story.” In the early days of television Ms. Page was the host of several short-lived network series, including “Music Hall” (1952), a 15-minute CBS show that followed the evening news two nights a week, and “The Big Record,” which ran one season, 1957-58, on the same network. “The Patti Page Show” was an NBC summer fill-in series in 1956.

Ms. Page defended her demure, unpretentious style as appropriate for its time. “It was right after the war,” she told The Baton Rouge Advocate in 2002, “and people were waiting to just settle down and take a deep breath and relax.”

I never cared for 'How Much is that Doggie in the Window' but my Parents and Grandparents listened to her a lot so I grew up hearing her music and was very saddened by this news, 'Cross Over the Bridge' will always be one of my favorite songs, may she RIP
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spider_orchid 2nd-Jan-2013 10:08 pm (UTC)
I saw Patti and thought Lupone and then I was like OMG THE THEATER QUEENS ARE GOING TO FALL TO PIECES!
noon 2nd-Jan-2013 10:20 pm (UTC)
omw rip
thetxbelle 2nd-Jan-2013 10:21 pm (UTC)
According to her obit her last hit, “Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte,” which she recorded as the theme for the Bette Davis movie of the same name. It was nominated for an Oscar, and Ms. Page sang it on the 1965 Academy Awards telecast.

I've always loved that song as well. :(
deltabean 2nd-Jan-2013 10:22 pm (UTC)
RIP :(
swissbeauty23 2nd-Jan-2013 10:22 pm (UTC)
aw no RIP :(
_quietriot_ 2nd-Jan-2013 10:23 pm (UTC)
who_love 2nd-Jan-2013 10:30 pm (UTC)
RIP :(
thesilverymoon 2nd-Jan-2013 10:35 pm (UTC)
Ohmygod I saw "Patti" and assumed "LuPone" and almost had another breakdown.
My theatre loving heart couldn't cope with that.

But seriously though, RIP. :(
thetxbelle 2nd-Jan-2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
I know this is ridiculous and I say it a lot but whenever a celebrity dies lately I worry about Willie Nelson dying because I love him so much and I'm gonna lose it when he goes :(
captainamerica 2nd-Jan-2013 10:57 pm (UTC)
Oh hallle naw. :( That's just a depressing thought.
hippie_chick 2nd-Jan-2013 10:59 pm (UTC)
I don't even want to think about that.
hippie_chick 2nd-Jan-2013 10:50 pm (UTC)
Awww... RIP. :(

I immediately started singing "Mockingbird Hill" to myself. And I love her "Tennessee Waltz". Godspeed, Patti.
captainamerica 2nd-Jan-2013 10:55 pm (UTC)
I'm actually really upset by this. :( She was one of my favorite singers growing up because my grandfather used to play a casette tape of her songs all the time.
preciate_ya 2nd-Jan-2013 11:05 pm (UTC)
RIP, I love Tennessee Waltz.
fred2265 2nd-Jan-2013 11:05 pm (UTC)
jason350 2nd-Jan-2013 11:06 pm (UTC)
I almost had a stroke y'all...I thought Patti Labelle at first! RIP. It's always sad to lose any music artist even not knowing of his or her work.
musicpsych 3rd-Jan-2013 12:16 am (UTC)
Love this song:

9goodfingers 3rd-Jan-2013 12:21 am (UTC)
oh gosh, this is so sad ): she's still a staple at my house, we listen to her all the time. rip
courtney_77 3rd-Jan-2013 12:31 am (UTC)
"Tennessee Waltz" is a gem. Thank you Patti.
missedith17 3rd-Jan-2013 01:44 am (UTC)
RIP Patti
eightball 3rd-Jan-2013 09:04 am (UTC)
finalstraw__ 3rd-Jan-2013 09:57 am (UTC)
:((((( RIP
mjspice 3rd-Jan-2013 06:18 pm (UTC)
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