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'Tennessee Waltz' singer Patti Page dies at 85

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Patti Page
Everett Collection

Patti Page, the genre-crossing songstress who became the biggest-selling female artist of the 1950s thanks to a string of now-classic songs, passed away on January 1. She was 85 years old.

Page was born Clara Ann Fowler, and began her singing career in 1948 with the release of her first single “Confess,” which became a hit despite the fact that the much better known Doris Day also had a recording of the same song out at around the same time. “Confess” features Page’s voice double-tracked (a relatively new approach to recording at the time), and the practice became something of a trademark for her.

She scored her first platinum-selling single in 1950 (“With My Eyes Wide Open, I’m Dreaming”), and followed it with 14 others through 1965, including staples “Tennessee Waltz,” “All My Love (Bolero),” and “(How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window.”

Though Page sang traditional pop, she managed to maintain her hold on the charts even after the rock and roll revolution took hold in the 1960s. Some of her biggest hits, including “Old Cape Cod” and “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte,” charted during that time.

Page also had something of a revival in 2000 when she released Brand New Tennessee Waltz, an recording of many of her biggest songs with assists from country stars like Emmylou Harris and Trisha Yearwood.

Despite her timeless success, she only had one Grammy to her name (perhaps because she did much of her best work prior to the awards’ creation in 1959). She was set to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Grammys.

Read More on EW.com: 

Brand New Tennessee Waltz

That Doggie in the Window