Patti Page reaches out to younger audience

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  Jan. 16, 2002 at 9:57 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Veteran singer Patti Page, still touring at 74, is reaching out to the youngest music audience around with a new album of children's music.

Page's biggest all-time hit was "Tennessee Waltz," but she still gets tons of requests for "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?" -- which, of course, is featured prominently on her upcoming children's album.

The song also was an essential part of her performance in Walnut Creek, Calif. last Saturday as she took part in St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa's 11th Annual Stars to the Rescue variety show. The event is a fund-raiser for La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation, which works to rescue, care for and place homeless pets.

The concert also featured performances by David Crosby, country star keith urban, Tommy Smothers and J.T. Taylor from Kool and the Gang.

In an interview with UPI, Page said her interest in La Russa's program came from a couple of different sources.

"A girl that used to work for me as a hairdresser has her own rescue foundation in the Los Angeles area," she said. "That was one of the reasons I wanted to go. Also Tony is a friend of John Vezner, the record producer who is married to (country singer) Kathy Mattea. He told Tony, 'You've got to get Patti here -- it's a natural.'"

"Naturally, since this was the Animal Rescue Fund, I had to do 'Doggie in the Window,'" said Page. "And I did 'Old Cape Cod' and 'Tennessee Waltz.'"

Like so many other established hit makers, Page attracts an audience made up of her old fans as well as their children and, in many cases, their grandchildren. Because of that, and because of input from her own grandchildren, Page has gotten around to something she said she's always wanted to do -- an album of music for children.

"When I heard 'All the Pretty Little Ponies' with Kenny Loggins, I just flipped over it and so did my kids," said Page. "We have two grandchildren living with us -- 6 and 8. I get my vibes from them as to what CDs they kind of like. Fortunately, they don't like any of the junk."

Page was impressed with her grandchildren's musical sophistication.

"Some of the things they liked," she said, "were much deeper than I would have imagined."

The album, "Child of Mine," includes "Rainbow Connection," "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "You Are So Beautiful," "Ants in The Pants" and of course, "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?" -- done with a reggae arrangement.

Half a century after becoming a best-selling recording artist, Page received her first Grammy Award two years ago for her "Live at Carnegie Hall" concert recording. She's still feeling all warm inside over the honor.

"Just fabulous," she said. "I love it. It took a long time but I guess it will always be very special."

Page performs in concert about 30 times a year across the United States and hosts "The Patti Page Show," a weekly broadcast on the Music of Your Life radio network. She plans to keep working as long as she can get the job done.

"As long as the voice is there," said Page. "I have always said that I wouldn't try to go out there when the voice is gone. What's the point?"

"Child of Mine" is scheduled to be released in April.

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