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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 263

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This is the grave of Patti Page.

Born in 1927 in Claremore, Oklahoma, typically poor for the time and place, Clara Ann Fowler graduated from high school in Tulsa and started singing professionally right away. Her name changed to Patti Page on the air to support an advertising campaign on the radio station to support the Page Milk Company. She had almost instant success and was playing with Benny Goodman by 1946. She received a recording contract from Mercury and hit the big time by the late 40s. Page and her recording engineer pioneered the practice of a singer harmonizing her own vocals on a recording when they had to improvise when a strike meant that the backup singers couldn’t perform. She began to have hits on the country charts in 1948 and 1949 and then started hitting #1 on the pop charts with songs such as her recording of “Tennessee Waltz” “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window,” and “I Went to Your Wedding.” She continued to have success through the 1950s, with multiple top 5 hits and many television appearances, including a couple of short-lived television series of her own. She managed to avoid being pushed aside by rock and roll for a little while, but her career began dipping by the early 1960s. She did have one last top 10 hit in 1965 with “Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte,” from the soundtrack of the film.

She continued to record some through the 60s and 70s, occasionally popping up on the country charts with something or the other, including reaching #14 in 1973 with “Hello, We’re Lonely,” a duet with the great Tom T. Hall. She spent her late life as many older acts do–touring, occasionally recording, earning a living with her art. Nothing wrong with that. Jack White gave her some props by recording her song “Conquest” on The White Stripes’ Icky Thump. They did some interviews together too. He’s a strange guy and probably finished as a creative force but he deserves a lot of credit for making older artists he loves hip again.

Let’s listen to some Patti Page.

Patti Page died on New Year’s Day, 2013. She is buried in El Camino Memorial Park, San Diego, California.

If you would like this series to cover more singers from the 1950s, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Patsy Cline is buried in Winchester, Virginia, which I wish I had known when I drove through that town on my last grave trip, and Billie Holiday is buried in New York City. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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