Readers, as always, it’s good to see you here at the “Church of Christ Celebrities” blog! After taking a trip to outer space in our last entry, we’ll double back to the world of music for today’s post, which focuses on the religious affiliation of pop and country singer Patti Page (1927-2013).
While Page is perhaps less of a household name today than she was in her heyday, she sold over 100 million records over the course of her lifetime, and she routinely topped the charts throughout the 1940s and 1950s with songs like “Tennessee Waltz” and “With My Eyes Wide Open, I’m Dreaming.” Younger readers might also recognize Page’s “(How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window,” which was used in the 2007 game BioShock, or “Conquest,” which was covered by the White Stripes for their album Icky Thump that same year.
As was the case a couple of weeks ago, I was able to find some information about Patti Page’s religious ties pretty easily, at least for her early life. A 2007 profile in the Norman Transcript mentions the following about Page’s upbringing (for context, it’s important to mention that Patti Page was a stage name, and that the singer’s given name was Clara Ann Fowler):
“The story of Clara Ann Fowler’s quick rise to fame is something like a fairytale. Born in Claremore on Nov. 8, 1927, she was one of 11 children and grew up on a farm near Claremore where her parents tried to make ends meet. She enjoyed music and began singing at an early age at the Church of Christ in Tulsa.” (1)
Page also mentions her Church of Christ connections in her 2009 memoir, This is My Song. She writes of her early years that “I had a bath on Saturday night ‘whether I needed it or not,’ and after breakfast on Sunday morning, my mother insisted we kids go to church – no excuses. We attended the Church of Christ.” Elsewhere in the same book, she adds that on the first night of her television program, The Big Record, her parents had “gone to services at the Church of Christ” and were hard to reach by phone. (2)
As was the case for several other country music artists, then, it is certain that the Churches of Christ played a formative role in Patti Page’s life, even if the impact of that connection later in life is less clear from the historical record. In any case, the link is confirmed, meaning that we can bring our festivities to a close for the week.
Next month, we have a couple of lengthy entries lined up. Two weeks from now, in honor of the MLB World Series (which will be finished by then), we’ll take a look at the religious ties of a handful of former professional baseball players who we overlooked in our previous baseball entry. And two weeks beyond that, we will finally dive into the deep end with a handful of my most frequently requested topic suggestions, individuals who would more likely be considered “infamous” for their crimes rather than “celebrities” per se. In any event, it should be an exciting month–and thanks as always for reading!
(1) “Oklahoma’s Patti Page ‘never wanted to be a singer,'” Norman Transcript, July 25, 2007, accessed August 5, 2019, https://www.normantranscript.com/news/oklahoma-s-patti-page-never-wanted-to-be-a-singer/article_ed986279-f159-5d89-842b-2dda2438c1a6.html.
(2) Patti Page, This is My Song: A Memoir (Kathdan Books, 2009). Unfortunately, specific page numbers are not available since I referenced an ebook.