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Pop/country singer Patti Page dies

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 – Patti Page, who enjoyed a career in both country and pop, died on New Year's Day at 85 at a nursing home in Encinitas, Cal. Her signature song was Tennessee Waltz recorded in 1960 and one of the biggest selling singles of the 20th century.

Page was born Clara Ann Fowler on Nov. 8, 1927 in Claremore, Okla. The family, which grew up without electricity, eventually moved to Tulsa where Fowler became a featured singer on a 15-minute radio program on radio station KTUL at 18. Sponsored by Page Milk Co., Fowler was called Patti Page.

Page later joined the Jimmy Joy Band and toured throughout the U.S. in the mid-1940's. She gained a recording contract with Mercury in 1947.

Page, under producer Mitch Miller, became the first pop artist to overdub her vocals on a song (Confess) The song hit number 12 on the Billboard chart. She enjoyed more hits including Money, Marbles, and Chalk, which was 15 on the country chart in 1949.

Tennessee Waltz was originally recorded by Pee Wee King & His Golden West Cowboys in 1947, becoming a big hit on the country charts for them in 1948. Cowboy Copas also had a hit with the song on the country chart. Page was number 1 with the song for 13 weeks in 1950-51. The song was her second to make it to the country chart, going as high as number two. The song eventually sold seven million copies.

Page did not hit the country charts again until 1961, but she had pop hits including (How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window, her fourth number one.

In 1961, Page made it onto the country chart with Mom And Dad's Waltz which reached as high as 21. The next year, Page had her second biggest country hit ever, Go On Home. She would chart another 17 times with only one song reaching as high as 14 (Hello We're Lonely, with Tom T. Hall.

By the 1970s, Page recorded country albums with record producer Shelby Singleton for Mercury. She later recorded for Epic, Avco and Plantation where her last charting single was My Man Friday in 1982 reaching 80.

Page continued touring and recording. In 2000, she released "Brand New Tennessee Waltz" with Suzy Bogguss, Alison Krauss, Kathy Mattea and Trisha Yearwood helping out. Until her death, Page did about 50 concerts annually in the U.S.

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