Chart Watch Extra: Patti Page, R.I.P.
Everybody knows that Elvis Presley was the top hit-maker of the 1950s, but who was the top female hit-maker of the decade? Move to the front of the class if you know that it was Patti Page, who died yesterday at age 85. Page had four #1 hits in that decade, including “The Tennessee Waltz,” which was one of the decade’s biggest hits. Page’s other chart-toppers were “All My Love (Bolero),” “I Went To Your Wedding” and the novelty tune “The Doggie In The Window,” which did little to enhance her artistic reputation, but remains one of her best-known songs.
Just last month, Page was announced as one of this year’s recipients of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Remarkably, she is the second recipient to have died since the announcements were made on Dec. 10. World music legend Ravi Shankar died the day after the announcements. (Both awards will be made posthumously next month.)
Neil Portnow, President and CEO of the Recording Academy, made note of Page’s death in a statement: “I recently had the privilege of speaking with Ms. Page and informing her that she would be recognized with The Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award this upcoming February, and she was grateful and excited to be receiving the honor.”
Page, who was born Clara Ann Fowler in Muskogee, Okla., was one of 11 children.
Page landed her biggest hit in 1950, when she was just 23. "The Tennessee Waltz" spent 13 weeks at #1. It is tied with "Goodnight Irene" by Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra and the Weavers for the longest run at #1 by any hit in the 1950s. Page's recording of "The Tennessee Waltz" was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Page was nicknamed "The Singin' Rage" in the 1950s, and it's easy to see why. She and Presley are the only artists who topped the pop chart for eight or more weeks with three different songs in that decade. She scored with "The Tennessee Waltz," "I Went To Your Wedding" and "The Doggie In The Window." He scored with "Don't Be Cruel"/"Hound Dog," "All Shook Up" and "Heartbreak Hotel."