ASCAP member Patti Page, the genre-crossing songstress who became the biggest-selling female artist of the 1950s thanks to a string of now-classic songs, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 1st, 2013 in Encinitas, CA. She was 85.
Born Clara Ann Fowler on Nov. 8th, 1927 in Oklahoma, Page’s silky-smooth voice engulfed the airwaves in the ‘50s and ‘60s, resulting in a staggering 111 hits, 15 gold records and four gold albums. She became one of the first crossover artists to take country music onto the pop charts, with records like “Mockin’ Bird Hill,” “I Went To Your Wedding” and “Mister & Mississippi” selling millions of copies. Her signature song, “Tennessee Waltz,” became one of the biggest-selling singles of the twentieth century and is also one of the official state songs of Tennessee.
“Tennessee Waltz” made significant headway for Nashville’s music business, according to historian Robert K. Oermann. “She helped put Nashville on the map,” he explained, adding that the single sold six million copies. “It was a defining moment for Nashville as a song town. She had the most flawless diction and pronunciation -- it was unmatched in her era.”
In later years, Page was recognized with the Academy of Country Music’s Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, and with a star on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the former Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Walkway of Stars, now the Music City Walk of Fame. Her album, Live at Carnegie Hall: The 50th Anniversary Concert, earned a Grammy Award in 1998, and Page was to be recognized with The Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony on Feb. 9th, 2013.