Who was Patti Page, and what were her contributions to music?

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Born Clara Ann Fowler, Patti Page (1927-2013) was one of the most popular singers in America during the 1950s.  Among her most commercially successful songs were “How Much is that Doggie in the Window,” “The Tennessee Waltz,” and “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte.” One of her most important contributions to music – and she was criticized for the simplicity of some the lyrics she sang, none of which she wrote – was as what is known today as a “crossover” artist.  Her 1950 recording of “The Tennessee Waltz” was popular with both pop and country listeners. It had originally been written by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King and recorded in 1947 by their band for performance at country-western venues.  Page’s recording of it, however, was the more commercially successful, with her version topping the charts. 

Recognizing that her style of music and performing had run its course during the increasingly turbulent period of the late-1960s, Page pretty-much retired from recording, but continued to perform live through the 1990s before retiring for good.  The exception to her retirement from recording was her 1998 album Live at Carnegie Hall, for which she was awarded a Grammy.

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