Page, Patti (1927—)

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Page, Patti (1927—)

American popular singer of the late 1940s and 1950s. Born Clara Ann Fowler on November 8, 1927, in Claremore, Oklahoma; one of 11 children of Benjamin A. Fowler (a railroad worker) and Margaret (Wright) Fowler; briefly attended Tulsa University; married Charles O'Curran, on December 28, 1956 (divorced); married Jerry Filiciotto (a retired aerospace executive), in May 1990; no children.

Gold record hits include: "With My Eyes Wide Open I'm Dreaming" (1949); "All My Love" (1950); "Tennessee Waltz" (1950); "Would I Love You (Love You, Love You)" (1951); "Mockin' Bird Hill" (1951); "Mr. and Mississippi" (1951); "Detour" (1951); "I Went to Your Wedding" (1952); "You Belong to Me" (1952); "That Doggie in the Window" (1953); "Changing Partners" (1953); "Cross Over the Bridge" (1954); "Allegheny Moon" (1956); "Old Cape Cod" (1957); "Left Right Out of Your Heart" (1958); The Waltz Queen (album, 1958); Golden Hits (album, 1960); Greatest Hits (album, 1967).

One of only five singers (and the only woman) whose hits spanned five decades on the Billboard country charts, singer Patti Page sold more than 100-million records during her career, among them 13 gold singles, including "Tennessee Waltz" (the largest selling single by a female artist), "Old Cape Cod," "Allegheny Moon," and the legendary "Doggie in the Window."

Born Clara Ann Fowler in Muskogee, Oklahoma, in 1927, Page was the second youngest of 11 children. Her father Benjamin Fowler, a railroad foreman, barely made enough money to put food on the table, and her mother Margaret Wright Fowler picked cotton to supplement the family's income. Page remembers walking barefoot to school so she could save her one pair of shoes for Sunday. As a young girl, she sang in church with her sisters and also did some professional singing around Tulsa, but her real ambition was to become a commercial artist. She briefly attended Tulsa University on an art scholarship, but left to take a job on the radio. Before long, she was starring on several programs, including a country-western show. In 1949, Page signed with Jack Rael, who, after hearing her sing on the radio, quit his job as musician-manager for the Jimmy Joy band to become her manager. Their relationship would be one of the most enduring in entertainment history. "In a business that too often works on the basis of 'don't tell me what you did for me yesterday, tell me what you're doing for me today,'" writes Bernie Woods, "Patti's conduct re Rael over the years was completely contrary to most artist-manager relationships."

Rael's first important booking for the young singer was on ABC Radio's "Breakfast Club," hosted by Don McNeil. Several appearances on the popular morning program led to a show of her own on CBS and a contract with Mercury Records, an independent company that had just been launched in Chicago. After a slow start with the fledgling enterprise, Page's 11th release, "Confess," a song originally intended for Vic Damone, put her on the charts. Due to budget constraints, Page sang all the back-up parts on the recording, creating an overdubbing effect that revolutionized the industry. On her next record, "With My Eyes Wide Open I'm Dreaming," Page sang four-part harmony with herself, creating an even more unusual multiple-voice effect and earning her the first of many gold records. Her third hit, "Tennessee Waltz," a blockbuster for Mercury, was actually the flip side of a Christmas song that the company had thought would be a major seller. "Tennessee Waltz" made Page the first popular singer to cross-over to country, and earned her the sobriquet, "The Singing Rage."

Hit followed hit, including "Mockin' Bird Hill," "Would I Love You," "All My Love," "Detour," "I Went to Your Wedding," "Doggie in the Window," and "Cross Over the Bridge," among others. In 1961, Page switched to Columbia Records and, even with Beatlemania sweeping the country, managed to make the Top 10 in 1965 with the title song from the film Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte. From the 1960s on, the singer based herself in Nashville, and perfected her "country" sound.

Along with her successful recording career, Page made regular appearances on television, becoming the only musical performer in the history of the medium to have her own weekly series on all three networks. The singer also appeared in the 1960 movie Elmer Gantry with Burt Lancaster, and in a much-acclaimed stage production of Annie Get Your Gun.

In 1980, Page was given the Pioneer Award by the Academy of Country Music (ACM), which recognized her groundbreaking, multiple-voice technique and her successful cross-over into country music. She was later elected to the board of ACM and was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Since 1990, Page has been married to Jerry Filiciotto, a retired aerospace executive, and divides her time between homes in California and New Hampshire.


Kinkle, Roger D. The Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz, 1900–1950. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House.

Woods, Bernie. When the Music Stopped: The Big Band Era Remembered. NY: Barricade, 1994.

suggested reading:

Page, Patti. Once Upon a Dream, 1966.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts