Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Countryobit: Patti Page

Patti Page has died in Tennessee.

Page sold more records in the 1950s US than any other female singer, and yet her biggest hit was almost strangled by the record company. Mercury thought Page would be perfect for a Christmas hit - Boogie Woogie Santa - and didn't pay much attention to the b-side. Indeed, they tried to persuade DJs to not flip the disc, so convinced were they that Boogie Woogie Santa would be a hit.

Luckily, people did investigate the other side - Tennessee Waltz would go on to be the first crossover country hit, and one of the highest selling records of all time.

She also helped invent overdubbing - in 1947, Mercury refused to pay for backing singers as they didn't think Page had a high enough profile; Jack Rael and Patti came up with the idea of using tape to allow her to back up her own main vocal. It sounded like this:

It worked so well, she was allowed by Mercury to use the effect full-on for the follow-up, With My Eyes Wide Open I'm Dreaming.

She was born Patti Page, of course. She wasn't even the first Patti Page; she'd taken on the role of the singer on KTUL's programme sponsored by the Page Milk Company. (The Pages in question were part of the Page family, whose Anglo-Swiss Milk Company was one of the constituent parts of the original Nestle conglomerate.)

Patti Page died on New Year's Day in California. She was 85.

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