Patti Page (born Clara Ann Fowler on November 8, 1927 in Claremore, Oklahoma) is one of the best-known female singers in traditional pop music. She is unusual in that she came to traditional pop from country music, and some of her recordings are somewhat country flavored.
She is sometimes considered the first major crossover artist to popularize country music to the general public. Her records span from 1949 to 1981. She continues to sing and perform live all around the USA.
She has frequently been known as The Singing Rage, Miss Patti Page.
She was born into a large and poor farming family, whose mother and older sisters picked cotton. They went without electricity, so young Clara could not read after dark, as she related on TV many years later.
However, she became a featured singer on a 15-minute radio program on radio station KTUL, Tulsa, Oklahoma, at age 18. The program was sponsored by Page Milk Company and so young Clara Ann Fowler became songstress Patti Page.
In 1946, Jack Rael, a band manager, came to Tulsa to do a one-nighter. He turned on the radio, and heard the musical program with the 18-year-old featured vocalist. He liked what he heard, and asked her to join the Jimmy Joy band, which Rael managed. Eventually both left the band; and Rael became Patti's personal manager and leader of the backup orchestra for many of her recordings.
In 1948, she recorded a song called Confess which had a portion requiring one singer to answer another. (The other hit version involved a duet of Doris Day and Buddy Clark.)
Because of a low budget, a second singer could not be hired, so Jack Rael suggested that Patti sing the second part as well. The novelty of her doing two voices on one record probably contributed to the song becoming a top twenty hit for her.
At the time, most record companies had a director of Artists and Repertory (the "A&R man") who tightly controlled all the choices of artist-song assignments, and Mercury Records' A&R man was Mitch Miller (who became famous later on as the A&R man who brought Columbia Records into a dominant position in pop music in the early 1950s).
After doing Confess Patti (or Jack Rael, or both) liked the multiple-voice idea so much that she asked to do an entire song as a quartet. Miller was skeptical until Patti recorded a four-bar song demo in four different voices and played the sample for Miller.
Reluctantly, he permitted it, and the song, With My Eyes Wide Open I'm Dreaming, became another big hit for Patti, her first to sell a million.
Although both Mary Ford and Jane Turzy became known for it, Page was the first singer to record multiple tracks on the same song (Confess).
On some of the records, she was billed as "Vocal by Patti Page, Patti Page, and Patti Page," in at least one case (With My Eyes Wide Open I'm Dreaming) being given quadruple billing.
As stated above, Confess became her first charted hit, in 1948 for Mercury Records, and reached #12 on the Billboard chart. Her first #1 hit was "All My Love", based on Maurice Ravel's Bolero, which was #1 for 5 weeks in 1950.
Her biggest hit was The Tennessee Waltz, which was #1 for 13 weeks, coming a few months later in 1950. In 1963 she changed companies, going to Columbia, but returned to Mercury in 1971.
While at Columbia, she scored her final Top 10 pop hit in 1965 with the title song from the Bette Davis film Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte. In 1973 she went back to the Columbia family, recording for Epic Records (a subsidiary).
In 1974 and 1975 she had a pair of records for Avco Records, then, after a hiatus of a few years, started in 1981 to record for Plantation Records, her last label. Patti's last single to appear on any Billboard chart was the 1982 #80 Country single "My Man Friday", released on Plantation.
(She last appeared on the Pop chart in 1968 with her version of O.C. Smith's "Little Green Apples", and on the Adult Contemporary chart with "Give Him Love" in 1971.)
Afterward, Patti made only the Country chart through 1982, with her biggest hit during that time being "Hello, We're Lonely," a 1973 #14 duet with Tom T. Hall).
In the 1990s she started her own label, C. A. F. Records. In 1998 she won a Grammy as "Best Traditional Pop Singer".
Many of her songs have a strong beat to them that prelude rock 'n' roll. These titles include "Mister and Mississippi", "Detour" and "Cross Over the Bridge".
In 1956 she married choreographer Charles O'Curran. They adopted two children, a daughter Kathleen, who suffers from serious drug problems, as Patti Page recounted on the O'Reilly Factor, and is incapable of taking care of her own children, leaving Patti to raise Kathleen's children, as well as a son, Daniel O'Curran.
Patti Page and Charles O'Curran divorced in 1972. In 1990 she married again, to Jerry Filiciotto, with whom she runs a maple syrup business in New Hampshire, when not at home near San Diego, California.
Until recently, Patti was also host of a weekly Sunday program on the "Music of Your Life" radio network (now distributed to individual radio stations via satellite by Jones Radio Networks).