News Column

Patti Page, 'Tennessee Waltz' Singer, Dies at 85

Jan. 3, 2013

Brian Mansfield, Special for USA TODAY

She was The Singin' Rage, Miss Patti Page. And she was all the rage, a million-selling purveyor of wholesome pop hits (How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window? and With My Eyes Wide Open, I'm Dreaming.

Her Tennessee Waltz remains among the best-selling tracks in recorded music. She survived the dawn of rock 'n' roll, ending the '50s as the decade's top-selling female singer.

But Page, who died New Year's Day at 85, was more than a voice. She was a delightful woman whose charming personality led her to become the first singer with a TV series on all three major networks.

She was an early adopter of multi-tracked vocal recording, starting with 1948's Confess. Page recorded the second vocal track when background singers were unavailable because of an impending musicians' strike.

"It wasn't anything I knew was innovative," Page told USA TODAY in 2008. "We just said, 'Why can't we do it?' And we did it."

In 2007, the White Stripes covered Page's flamenco-style hit Conquest. "I love how bold the song is, and simple; it's kind of irresistible," Jack White told USA TODAY at the time.

Page will be honored posthumously with a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy next month. She was looking forward to it. And she certainly deserved it.

Source: Copyright 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

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