Born Clara Ann Fowler on November 8, 1927 in Claremore, Oklahoma, Patti Page became a pop music legend, selling in excess of 100 million records over a career that spanned seven decades. From humble beginnings as one of eleven children born to a railroad foreman and a mother who picked cotton for extra money, Patti Page would earn the distinction as the biggest selling female recording artist in pop music history.
Patti Page’s tremendous singing talent was discovered early. When the lead singer at local radio station KTUL came down with laryngitis, Patti jumped at the chance, auditioned and won the job. It was during her years at KTUL that Patti officially changed her name from Clara Ann Flower to Patti Page, a moniker inspired by the Page Milk Company, one of the program’s sponsors.
Patti made music history that same year when she recorded “Confess,” her first hit single and one on which she overdubbed her own voice to create the effect of a vocal group, making “Confess” a benchmark for studio technology. In 1949, Page used the overdubbing technique again on “With My Eyes Wide Open I’m Dreaming,” which earned her the first of 18 gold records. A more modern orchestral backing was added when the song was re-released 10 years later.
The best-selling female vocalist of the 1950s and wildly popular throughout the 1960s, the Claremore-native was soon introduced as “The Singin’ Rage, Miss Patti Page.” Patti expanded her career with movie roles in 1960’s Elmer Gantry and 1962’s Boys’ Night Out with fellow Oklahomans James Garner and Tony Randall. Page also garnered national exposure on such television shows as The Dean Martin Comedy Hour and The Ed Sullivan Show and was the only celebrity to host her own television show on all three major networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) between 1953 and 1959.