A Rockapaedia Obituary
Patti Pattie died aged eighty-five on 1st January 2013 at the Seacrest Village Retirement Community in Encinitas, California. U.S.A. She was buried at El Camino Memorial Park in San Diego.
Pattie was married three times: first to University of Wisconsin student Jack Skiba in May 1948. They moved to New York, but she asked for and received a no-fault divorce in Wisconsin within a year. Her next marriage was to Charles O'Curran, a choreographer, in 1956. O'Curran had been previously married to actress Betty Hutton. Pattie Page and O'Curran adopted a son, Danny, and a daughter, Kathleen but they divorced in 1972.
Pattie Page's last marriage was to Jerry Filiciotto in 1990. The couple owned a maple syrup business in New Hampshire and resided in Solana Beach, California. Jerry Filiciotto died on 18th April 2009.
Pattie Page's longtime collaborator arranger Vic Schoen once recalled that Pattie was one of the nicest and most accommodating singers he had ever worked with. Pattie and Schoen remained close friends and spoke regularly until his death in 2000.
Pattie Page was born Clara Ann Fowler on 8th November 1927, in Claremore, Oklahoma, U.S.A. Her father, B.A. Fowler, worked on the MKT railroad, while her mother, Margaret, and older sisters picked cotton. As she recalled on television many years later, the family lived without electricity, and therefore she could not read after dark. She was raised in Foraker, Hardy, Muskogee and Avant, Oklahoma, before attending Daniel Webster High School in Tulsa, from which she graduated in 1945.
Pattie Page started her career as a singer with Al Clauser and his Oklahoma Outlaws at KTUL. Pattie Pagebecame a featured performer on a 15-minute radio program on KTUL, Tulsa, Oklahoma, at age eighteen. The program was sponsored by the Page Milk Company. On the air, Pattie Page was referred to as "Patti Page", after the Page Milk Company. In 1946, Jack Rael, a saxophone player and band manager, came to Tulsa to do a one-night stand. Rael heard Pattie Page on the radio and liked her voice. Rael asked her to join the band he managed, the "Jimmy Joy Band". Rael would later become Pattie Page's personal manager, after leaving the band.
Pattie Page toured the U.S.A. with the "Jimmy Joy Band" in 1946. The band eventually ended up in Chicago, Illinois, where in 1947, Pattie Page sang with a small group led by popular orchestra leader, Benny Goodman. This led to Pattie Page signing her first recording contract with Mercury Records.
Pattie Page recorded several songs with Al Clauser & His Oklahoma Outlaws in 1946, The Eddie Getz Orchestra, and the George Barnes Trio in 1947.
Pattie Page recorded her first hit single, "Confess", in 1947. Because of a strike, background singers were not available to provide harmony vocals for the song, so Pattie and the label decided to overdub the harmony parts. Bill Putnam, an engineer for Mercury Records, was able to overdub Pattie Page's voice, using the latest recording technology of the day. Thus, Pattie Page became the first pop artist to harmonize her own vocals on a recording. This technique would later be used on Pattie Page's biggest hit singles in the 1950s. In 1948, "Confess" became a Top 15 hit on Billboard magazine, peaking at number 12 on the "Best-Sellers" chart, becoming her first hit. Pattie Page followed the single with four more in 1948–1949, only one of which was a Top 20 hit, "So in Love". Pattie Page also had a Top 15 hit on the Billboard magazine country chart in 1949 with "Money, Marbles, and Chalk" and then recorded "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus" which later became a hit in 1950.
In 1950, Pattie Page had her first million-selling single "With My Eyes Wide Open, I'm Dreaming", another song where she harmonized her vocals. Because she was overdubbing her vocals, Pattie Page's name had to be listed on the recording credits as a group. According to one early-1950s' chart, Pattie Page was credited as "The Patti Page Quartet". In mid-1950, Pattie Page's single, "All My Love (Bolero)" peaked at number 1 on Billboard magazine, becoming her first number 1 hit, spending five weeks there. That same year, she also had her first Top 10 hit with "I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine", as well as the Top 25 single, "Back in Your Own Backyard".
Toward the end of 1950, Pattie Page's version of "Tennessee Waltz" became her second number 1 hit, and her biggest-selling single. "Tennessee Waltz" was written in 1946 by Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart, and was recorded in 1947 by Pee Wee King & His Golden West Cowboys. Their original version made the country charts in 1948. Pattie Page was introduced to the song by record producer Jerry Wexler, who suggested that she cover a recent R&B version by the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra. Pattie Page liked the song and she soon recorded and released it as a single. Tennessee Waltz spent thirteen weeks at Number One in 1950 and 1951. "Tennessee Waltz" also became Pattie Page's second single to appear on the country charts, becoming her biggest hit there, reaching Number Two. The song would later become one of the best-selling records of its era, selling seven million copies in the early 1950s. "Tennessee Waltz" remains the biggest commercial success for the overdubbing technique, pioneered by producer Mitch Miller, which enabled Pattie Page to sound as if she were harmonizing with herself.
In 1951, Pattie Page released the follow-up single to "Tennessee Waltz" called "Would I Love You", which was a Top 5 hit, and also sold a million copies. The next single, "Mockin' Bird Hill", (a cover of the original by Les Paul and Mary Ford) was her fourth million seller. Pattie Page had three more Top 10 hits on Billboard magazine in 1951, starting with "Mister and Mississippi", which peaked at number 8, "And So to Sleep Again", and "Detour", which had previously been recorded and made famous by Foy Willing and Elton Britt. Pattie Page's version was the most popular and became her seventh million-selling single. She also released her first studio album in 1951 titled, Folk Song Favorites.
In 1952, Pattie Page had a third number 1 hit with "I Went to Your Wedding", which spent two months at number one. Recorded in a country ballad style, the song was the B-side of "You Belong to Me", also a top ten hit. "I Went to Your Wedding" was Pattie Page's eighth million-selling single in the United States. It displaced Jo Stafford's version of the same song, "You Belong to Me" at number 1 on Billboard's Best Seller chart). She had continued success that year, with three more songs in the Top 10, "Come What May", "Once in a While", and "Why Don't You Believe Me". In 1953, a novelty tune, "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window", became Pattie Page's fourth number 1 hit, selling over a million copies, and staying on the chart for five months. The song included the sound of a dog barking, which made it popular with a younger audience. It became one of her best-loved songs. The song was written by the novelty tune specialist Bob Merrill. It was originally recorded by Pattie Page for a children's album, "Arfie Goes To School". She had a series of Top 20 hits that year. A final single reached the Top 5, "Changing Partners", which peaked at number 3 and stayed on the charts for five months. The song was also a country melody, like many of Pattie Page's hits at the time.
In 1954, Pattie Page had more chart hits, including "Cross Over the Bridge", which again over-dubbed Pattie Page's vocals and peaked at number 2. Other Top 10 hits by Pattie Page that year included, "Steam Heat" (from the Broadway musical The Pajama Game) and "Let Me Go Lover". In 1955 Pattie Page had one chart single, called "Croce di Oro".
Unlike most other pop singers of her time, Pattie Page was able to maintain success into the rock and roll era. She had three hits in 1956, including the number 2 "Allegheny Moon". In 1957 she had major hits with "A Poor Man's Roses" ,recorded the same year by Patsy Cline, and the Top 5 hit, "Old Cape Cod".
In 1956 Vic Schoen became Patti Pattie Page's musical director, producing her on a long string of hits that included "Mama from the Train", "Allegheny Moon", "Old Cape Cod", "Belonging to Someone" and "Left Right Out of Your Heart". Pattie Page and Schoen's most challenging project was a recording of Gordon Jenkins narrative tone poem Manhattan Tower, recorded September 1956. The album was a success both artistically and commercially, reaching number 18 on the Billboard LP chart, the highest ranking of any of her albums. Schoen's arrangements were more lively and jazzy than the original Jenkins arrangements. Schoen recalled, "Patti was an alto, but I pushed her to reach notes higher than she had sung before for this album. We always enjoyed working together." Pattie Page and Schoen continued their collaboration for many years, working together until 1999.
During the 1950s, Pattie Page regularly appeared on television, including The Ed Sullivan Show, The Bob Hope Show, The Steve Allen Show, and The Dean Martin Show. This eventually led to Pattie Page having television specials of her own. She would later have her own series, beginning with Scott Music Hall on NBC in the 1952–53 season, and a syndicated series for Oldsmobile in 1955, The Patti Pattie Page Show. However, this show only lasted one season, as did The Big Record on CBS (1957–58) and ABC's The Patti Pattie Page Olds Show, sponsored by Oldsmobile (1958–59). Pattie Page also began an acting career at this time, beginning with a role on CBS Playhouse 90. Pattie Page made her movie debut in 1960, in Elmer Gantry. Pattie Page also recorded the theme song for Boys Night Out, in which she played the part of Joanne McIllenny. In 1959, Pattie Page recorded the title song from the musical The Sound of Music for Mercury Records on the same day that the musical opened on Broadway. Since it was recorded a week before the original Broadway cast album, Pattie Page was the first artist to record a song from the musical. The song on her TV show, The Pattie Page Olds Show, helping to promote the Broadway show.
In the early 1960s, Pattie Page's success began to decline. She did not chart again until 1961, with "You'll Answer to Me" and "Mom and Dad's Waltz". Pattie Page's last major chart hit was in 1965, "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte", from the film of the same name starring Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland. It peaked at number 8. It was her last top 10 hit (and her first since 1957). , was nominated for a "Best Song" Oscar and she got to sing it on the 1965 Academy Awards. She also recorded the song in Italian, Spanish and German for foreign markets.
Before releasing "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte", Pattie Page signed with Columbia Records, where she remained until the end of the decade. She released a few studio albums for Columbia in the 1960s. In 1970, her singles began to chart on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart. Many of these singles became hits, peaking in the Top 20, including cover versions of "You Can't Be True, Dear", "Gentle on My Mind", and "Little Green Apples". Pattie Page, who was a fan of country music, recorded many country songs over the years. Some of these were recorded for Columbia and were released as Adult Contemporary singles, including David Houston's "Almost Persuaded" and Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man". Pattie Page left Columbia in 1970, returning to Mercury Records and shifting her career away from pop and into country music. In 1973, she returned to working with her former record producer, Shelby Singleton.
Working for Mercury, Columbia, and Epic in the 1970s, Pattie Page recorded a series of country singles, beginning with 1970's "I Wish I Had a Mommy Like You", which became a Top 25 hit, followed by "Give Him Love", which had similar success. In 1971, she released a country music album, I'd Rather Be Sorry, for Mercury records. In 1973, a duet with country singer Tom T. Hall titled, "Hello, We're Lonely" was a Top 20 hit, reaching number 14 on the Billboard Country Chart.
In 1973, Pattie Page returned to Columbia Records' affiliate Epic Records. In 1974 and 1975, she released singles for Avco Records including "I May Not Be Lovin' You" and "Less Than the Song", both of which were minor country hits. After a five-year hiatus, she recorded for Plantation Records in 1980. She had a Top 40 hit with Plantation in 1981 titled "No Aces", followed by a series of minor country hits, "My Man Friday", which reached number 80 In the early 1980s, she performed with major symphony orchestras in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Mexico City, Mexico. .
In 1986 Pattie Page and arranger Vic Schoen reunited for a stage show in Las Vegas.
In 1988, Pattie Page appeared at the Ballroom in New York, marking the first time that she had performed there in nearly twenty years. She received positive reviews from music critics. In the 1990s, Pattie Page founded her own record label, C.A.F. Records, which released several records, including a 2003 children's album.
In the early 1990s, Pattie Page moved to San Diego, California, and continued to perform live shows at venues across the country.
In 1998, the album Live at Carnegie Hall: The 50th Anniversary Concert was released. The album won Pattie Page a Grammy Award the following year for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance which, despite her prolific career, was her first Grammy.
In 1998, a sample of Patti Pattie Page's recording of "Old Cape Cod" formed the basis of Groove Armada's 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 Pattie 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 introduced Pattie Page's music to a new generation of listeners.
In 1999, Vic Schoen reunited with Pattie Page to record a CD for a Chinese label.
In 2000, she released an 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 4th 2001, Bob Baines, the mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire, declared the day "Patti Page Day" in the town. Miss Pattie Page was in Manchester to perform a sold-out concert at the Palace Theater to benefit Merrimack Valley Assistance Program.
In 2004, she appeared on the PBS Special Magic Moments: The Best Of 50s Pop and sang her hits "Tennessee Waltz" and "Old Cape Cod". The DVD also includes a bonus backstage interview with Pattie Page.
Until shortly before her death, Pattie Page was the 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 had recorded Pattie Page's early 1950s hit, "Conquest", on their 2007 studio album Icky Thump. Pattie Page and Jack White were put together on the phone during the interview, talking to each other about their views on "Conquest".
Pattie Page sang "Summer Me, Winter Me" for Michel Legrand's 50th Anniversay concert at the MGM Grand, and on the recording, it is evident she had forgotten the words.
Pattie Page continued to tour actively until September 2012, when she announced, on her web page, her retirement from performing, for health reasons.
During the late 1940s, when Pattie Page recorded for Mercury Records, its top A&R man was Mitch Miller, who, despite having left Mercury for Columbia Records in 1950, produced most of Pattie Page's music. Miller found that the simple-structured melodies and story lines in country songs could be adapted to the pop market. Pattie Page, who was born in Oklahoma, felt comfortable using this idea. Many of Pattie Page's most successful hits featured a country music arrangement, including her signature song, "Tennessee Waltz", as well as "I Went to Your Wedding" and "Changing Partners". Some of these singles charted on the Billboard Country Chart during the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s.
Many other artists were influenced by Pattie Page, and incorporated country arrangements into their own songs, including The Andrews Sisters and Bing Crosby.