News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion Columns

January 15, 2013

RONN MOTT: Patti Page

Patti Page died the other day. A name that many of us remember from the recordings she made, television shows she was on, and the odd movie she appeared in. She was one of many ladies who filled the record shops and the airwaves with her songs in the late 1940’s and 50’s.

Patti Page stood out like the beacon of light she gave us in song. And she was one of many of that era. There was Kay Starr, Rosemary Clooney, Jo Stafford, Peggy Lee, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald.  

I know the girl singers of this day would find it hard to believe that Patti Page had all of this success without being scandalous. Madonna, Brittney Spears, and a host of others have to make up the lack of talent with scandalous and ridiculous behavior. Patti Page was beautiful and sang like an angel. I really don’t know if she was an angel or not, but she managed to be successful or at least very discreet without the flaming headlines that follow (the girl talent of today).

I became acquainted with Patti Page when an older cousin of my mother asked me one day if I liked the song “The Tennessee Waltz.” I was unaware of the song at that time. I played it in a juke box the first chance I had and I liked it. It was written by Pee Wee King, a famous country band leader and song writer. (He would also write a big hit, “Slow Poke.”) Ms. Page would have many hits but, most astonishingly, a Top 20 hit in every year for a decade. Ironically, my favorite Patti Page hits were “Old Cape Cod,” and “Allegheny Moon.” In the course of the many years I spent on the radio, I had the opportunity to play almost all of her hit songs. I liked her and I liked the songs she sang so well, I became a fan of the lady they called, “The singing rage, Miss Patti Page.”  

Patti’s last hit was in the mid-1960’s and she slipped gracefully into retirement to be wife, mother and grandmother. I have missed her singing and her type of song for many years, but to know she’s gone makes the missing worse.  

The lady from Tulsa is gone and, most likely, will never be replaced. You can say that for all the singing ladies of that era who did it gracefully with talent, and scandalous behavior was kept at a minimum.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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