'Tennessee Waltz' singer Patti Page dies at 85
FILE - This 1958 file photo shows singer Patti Page. Page, who made "Tennessee Waltz" the third best-selling recording ever, died Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2012 in Encinitas, Calif. She was 85. (AP Photo, File)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Unforgettable songs like "Tennessee Waltz" and "(How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window?" made Patti Page the best-selling female singer of the 1950s and a star who would spend much of the rest of her life traveling the world.
When unspecified health problems finally stopped her decades of touring, though, Page wrote a sad-but-resolute letter to her fans late last year about the change.
"Although I feel I still have the voice God gave me, physical impairments are preventing me from using that voice as I had for so many years," Page wrote. "It is only He who knows what the future holds."
Page died on New Year's Day in Encinitas, Calif., according to publicist Schatzi Hageman, ending one of pop music's most diverse careers. She was 85 and just five weeks away from being honored at the Grammy Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy.
Page achieved several career milestones in American pop culture, but she'll be remembered for indelible hits that crossed the artificial categorizations of music and remained atop the charts for months to reach a truly national audience.
"Tennessee Waltz" scored the rare achievement of reaching No. 1 on the pop, country and R&B charts simultaneously and was officially adopted as one of two official songs by the state of Tennessee. Its reach was so powerful, six other artists reached the charts the following year with covers.
Two other hits, "I Went To Your Wedding" and "Doggie in the Window," which had a second life for decades as a children's song, each spent more than two months at No. 1. Other hits included "Mockin' Bird Hill," ''Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte," and "Allegheny Moon." She teamed with George Jones on "You Never Looked That Good When You Were Mine."
"I just loved singing with Patti and she hit notes I never dreamed of," Jones said Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "We cut some songs together and it was a great time. She'll be missed by lots of folks and everybody needs to know how great she was. Patti was a wonderful singer with a real special voice."
So special, Page managed to maintain her career when most singers of her generation and their more innocent songs were shoved aside by the swinging hips of Elvis Presley. Page proved herself something of a match for the nascent rock 'n' roll crowd and its obsession with sex, continuing to place songs on the pop charts into the 1960s and the country charts into the '80s.