November 8, 1927 – January 1, 2013
Born Clara Ann Fowler in Claremore, Oklahoma
Patti Page, the “kid from Oklahoma who never wanted to be a singer, but was told I could sing and things snowballed” died at the age of 85 on New Year’s Day (1/1/13) in Encinitas, Calif., according to her publicist Schatzi Hageman.
Page may be quite known for her inquiry into the cost of a dog to keep her companion company during her absence in “(How Much Is That) Doggie In The Window“.
Or perhaps she’s most notably remembered for stumbling upon a waltz that, according to the Associated Press, became the first pop tune to cross over into a country hit. The “Tennessee Waltz” remained on the charts for some 30 weeks, 12 of which nestled nicely in the Top 10 and the song eventually sold more than 10 million copies.
Additionally, Ms. Page was a GRAMMY Award-winner, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a listing on the Country Music Walk of Fame, Nashville and received the Academy of Country Music Pioneer Award in 1980. She starred in film, on stage, was an elected CMA Board of Directors member and a member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Page was also due to receive a lifetime acheivement award from The Recording Academy during a special ceremony on February 9, 2013 in Los Angeles.
But an Unexplainable Happenstance Became Dear to Patti …
But what many may not know is Ms. Patti Page recorded a song in 1957 that would not only affect the music, food, tourism and real estate industries of Cape Cod (MA) but would forever remain in the hearts of Cape Codders and be hailed an unofficial Cape Cod Anthem, if ever there was one.
Cape Cod is ‘a little piece of heaven on earth’ situated 60 miles south of Boston. It’s a peninsula separated from the mainland by the famous man-made Cape Cod Canal and hangs into the Atlantic like a jettie and it is everything that Ms. Page depicts.
“When I recorded it some years ago, I had never been to the Cape.” Patti shares. ” I could not believe it when I finally did go because I said that lady (Claire Rothrock, co-writer with Milton Yakus and Allan Jeffrey) captured that place so well in her song.
And I said to myself that it captured something about a place that I had had within me for so many years but never knew. It’s unexplainable to me because it’s so dear to me. I knew I had been here before and I hadn’t.”
Page was on Cape Cod more than a decade ago when she performed at the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis. At the time the then town manager renamed Main Street in her honor for the day. A decade later as Page returned to the area for a weekend of Cape appearances signing and promoting her memoir, “This Is My Song”, Barnstable officially permanently renamed Shootflying Hill Road, the home of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, as Patti Page Way.
And on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 after hearing the news of Ms. Page’s passing, Cape Cod honored the singer by tying black ribbons from the “Patti Page Way” street sign.
“the ribbons were placed to honor Page and the role her song ‘Old Cape Cod’ had and continues to have on the region, said executive director Wendy Northcross. If Cape Cod had a national anthem, that song would be it. There’s no way to understate the importance of that song.” (reported 1/3/13 in the Cape Cod Times)
Patti Page Visits Old Cape Cod
Patti Page – “Old Cape Cod” – the Song
Author Note: Although from Boston, I had the fortunate pleasure of growing up and summering on Cape Cod yearly and currently live there full time. I remember the first time I heard “Old Cape Cod” thinking, ah, that magical, secret place. Thank you for that unofficial anthem, Ms. Page. Cape Cod is everything that lyric and your vocals paint.