As the U.S. soldiers of World War II traveled to Europe they brought the American culture with them. At Friday and Saturday night socials on their foreign bases, as American records played, the rest of the world was introduced to the big band sound that had become so popular in the states. This welcome invasion of entertainment on European shores brought international recognition to Coca-Cola, chewing gum, pin-ups, and the blonde blue-eyed All-American sweethearts such as Patti Page.
These American darlings symbolized the spirit of the country both at home and abroad ushering in a new era of transnational music. Patti Page, with her charming smile and international breakout song, “(How Much Is That) Doggie In The Window),” effortlessly glided into the iconic role. Though today’s generation may not know her name, they undoubtedly know this famous hit that catapulted her to worldwide acclaim. On New Year’s Day, the world lost Patti Page when the pop-country singer of the 1950’s passed away in her home in Encinitas, CA at the age of 85.
Page’s first track to sell one million copies, “With My Eyes Wide Open.” This paved the way for her wide catalogue of hit tunes such as “Tennessee Waltz,” “Allegheny,” and “Old Cape Cod,” opening doors for her successors such as Doris Day, Brenda Lee and Debbie Reynolds. Page’s popularity as a cross over singer made Page such a likeable face in the industry that she became a film actor, and the only star to host television programs on three of the major networks including “The Patti Page Show,” on ABC.
Born in Oklahoma as Clara Ann Fowler, Page was a musical force to be reckoned with. Breaking into the charts an astounding 111 times while garnering 19 gold and 14 platinum singles, she was the undisputed best-selling female artist of the decade.
Page continued singing throughout her life to a loyal fanbase consistently touring and acquiring a slew of awards and accolades. She was given stars on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame as well as the Country Walk of Fame, “Tennessee Waltz” was actually named the state song of Tennessee, and in 1999 she was awarded a Grammy for her first live album, “Live at Carnegie Hall: The 50th Anniversary Concert.” Shortly before her death it was announced that Page was to be one of the recipients of a Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Grammy Awards along with the likes of Ravi Shankar who also recently passed away.
Patti Page will be sincerely missed, but as the White Stripes 2007 cover of her song “Conquest” proved, her musical legacy is here to stay.