It does seem like every artist in the Ps has more than one single in the collection so it becomes tricky to figure out who I should give feature weeks or months to. Normally, Patti would qualify based on quantity but I’m opting to go with ones I can make clever names with. I stressed far too long over something for Patti when I should just be cataloging!
My dad had a ton of Ms. Page’s singles so for the first one, I figured we’d touch a little on her early life. I mean, how could I not cover how Clara Ann became Patti? We recently picked up one of her full LPs too and it has a lovely cover so I’m excited to enter that soon with the singles!
Patti was born Clara Ann Fowler on November 8, 1927, in Claremore, Oklahoma (although some sources give Muskogee) into a large and poor family. Her father, B.A., worked on the MKT railroad, while her mother, Margaret, and older sisters picked cotton. As she related on TV many years later, the family went without electricity, and therefore she could not read after dark. She was raised in Foraker, Hardy, Muskogee and Avant, Oklahoma, before attending Daniel Webster High School in Tulsa, from which she graduated in 1945.
Clara started off her career as a songstress with Al Clauser and his Oklahoma Outlaws at KTUL. She became a featured singer on a 15-minute program on the radio station at age 18. The program was sponsored by the “Page Milk Company” and on the air, Fowler was dubbed “Patti Page,” after the company.
In 1946, Jack Rael, a saxophone player and band manager, came to Tulsa to do a one-night show. He heard Page on the radio and liked her voice so he asked her to join the band he managed, the “Jimmy Joy Band.” Rael would later become Page’s personal manager, after leaving the band. Page toured with the “Jimmy Joy Band” throughout the country in the mid-1940s. The band eventually ended up in Chicago, Illinois, in 1947.
In Chicago, Page sang with a small group led by popular orchestra leader, Benny Goodman. This helped Page gain her first recording contract with Mercury Records the same year. She became Mercury’s “girl singer”.
Everytime You Touch Me