Patti Page, The Tennessee Waltz

January 5, 2013 at 1:12 am (Jim D, music, song)

Patti Page (born Clara Ann Fowler)  November 8 1927 – January 1 2013.

‘The Tennessee Waltz’ is rather moving:

“I was dancin’ with my darlin’ to the Tennessee Waltz, when an old friend I happened to see/ I introduced her to my loved one/ And while they were dancin’/ My friend stole my sweetheart from me.”

Washington Post obit, here


  1. Matt said,

    I like this version by Sam Cooke (itself later covered by Sam Moore of Sam and Dave on his first solo album):

  2. Jim Denham, said,

    Stuart Maconie in today’s Times:

    “Patti Page was the bestselling American female artist of the 1950s. But until her obituaries appeared this week, few of the musical cogniscenti would have been ab le to tell you this. Patti’s lush, deamy sentimental songs, spanning pop, country and jazz, belong to an era before rock’n’roll, teen revolt and the coming of rock culture. Thus they have been written out of history. But Patti Page was as much a part of fifties music as Elvis Presley or Little Richard, her creamy, seductive alto voice every bit their equal…

    “…Born into a home without electricity and often without food, Clara Ann Fowler was the tenth of the 11 children of an Oklahoma labourer. She worked at a local radio station as a teenager and became Patti Page, the singing voice of of a daily show sponsored by the Page Milk Company. She pretty much never looked back. Her recording of ‘The Tennessee Waltz’ topped the charts for three months. After that came a string of hits that straddled genres and made her a superstar, adored by the record buyers here and back home.

    ” She sold more than 100 million records, yet many of the obits contained something like this from ‘The Independent’: ‘Her reputation was burnished in recent years when rock group The White Stripes covered her 1952 song ‘Conquest’ on their Grammy-winning 2007 album ‘Icky Thump’.’ Everything wrong-headed about rock criticism is contained in those few words. A gigantic star who dominated her era almost as completely as Elvis and the Beatles is thought to need the patronage of a pale indie boy guitarist to have any credibility.

    “Hank Williams sold far fewer records than Patti Page. But because he was a self-pitying sot who drank himself to death in 1953, he is canonised by the rock criterati (they usually trot out some rot about him being ‘the first punk’ or such). Page, having the female good sense to work hard, take care of business and live till 85, is overlooked by the arbiters of taste. As usual, they’re wrong. ‘I Went to Your Wdding’, if a little saccharine, is as truthful and heartbreaking as anything by Williams, Willie Nelson, Johhny Cash or any of those ‘outlaws’, as their devotees see them. ‘Old Cape Cod’ is a beautiful Technicolor travelogue drenched in languourous sensuality, its rich jazzy changes and Page’s ripe delivery both woozy with bliss.

    “There’s more than an echo in Page’s story of that of another female superstar from a large impoverished rural family who made her name with a tune about Tennessee. Dolly Parton…”

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