US & Canada

Patti Page, singer of Tennessee Waltz, dies aged 85

Patti Page
Image caption Patti Page described herself as 'a kid from Oklahoma'

American singer Patti Page, one of the most popular artists of the 1950s, has died at the age of 85.

She recorded four US number-one hits, including Tennessee Waltz and the novelty record (How Much Is That) Doggie In The Window.

She was to have been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award at next month's Grammy ceremony.

Born Clara Ann Fowler into a poor family in 1928, she was discovered singing on local radio.

"I was a kid from Oklahoma who never wanted to be a singer, but was told I could sing," she said in a 1999 interview. "And things snowballed."

She signed to Mercury Records, where she became their star female vocalist, selling more than 100 million records.

Tennessee Waltz, her biggest hit, topped the charts in 1950-1951 and was the last song to sell a million copies of sheet music.

Page became a fixture on US television. The Patti Page Show ran on TV for a year and its star was nominated for an Emmy award in 1959.

She also acted in films, including Elmer Gantry alongside Burt Lancaster.

But her popularity dipped in the 1960s as her style became dated by the arrival of rock'n'roll.

She recorded as a more overtly country singer in subsequent decades and continued to tour extensively.

Patti Page won a Grammy in 1998 for Live At Carnegie Hall.

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