Patti Page first recorded “Tennessee Waltz” in 1950, and the Pennsylvania girl who had been singing since age five soon became a national sensation. Page’s wholesome beauty and warm alto voice made her one of the decade’s most popular stars, whether she was giving country songs a pop spin or getting down with rockers. Page’s career was revived with the 1954 single “Old Cape Cod,” which prompted Capitol Records to reissue her earlier hits. She recorded dozens of albums (including several Christmas collections) for the label through 1974. Below are her 10 best songs of all time:
10. Confess – 1948
Confess is a song written by country singer-songwriter Hank Cochran (and usually credited to him and his cousin, A.L. “Doodle” Owens). It was originally recorded in 1958 by Jim Reeves for his album of the same name, with string accompaniment added later; this version became an RIAA gold record. Reeves performed the song with his backing band, The Blue Boys, and it was issued as a single on RCA Victor in 1958, but it failed to chart. Patti Page recorded the song for her album Tennessee Waltz (Capitol Records, 1959). Her modern countrypolitan recording featured choral backing by the Jack Halloran Singers and the instrumental accompaniment of the Ralph Carmichael Orchestra.
9. A Poor Man’s Roses (Or a Rich Man’s Gold) – 1957
A Poor Man’s Roses (Or a Rich Man’s Gold) was written by Jack Rhodes and Dick Reynolds. It was originally recorded by Johnnie & Jack in 1957; their version went to #5 on the country music chart, #18 pop. The song has since been covered numerous times, including this recording by Patti Page. In 1959 it was released on the Patti Page Album, “Tennessee Waltz.”
8. I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine – 1950
I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine, written by country music singer and songwriter Hank Williams. It was recorded in 1949 and became one of his most popular songs during 1950 when it became a No. 2 hit on the “Billboard” Most Played C&W in Juke Boxes chart. Patti Page covered it on her second album, “Hits of the ’50s, ” which featured several of her earlier hits.
7. With My Eyes Wide Open, I’m Dreaming – 1950
My Eyes Wide Open (I’m Dreaming) was written by country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams. It was recorded in December 1949 at Herzog Studio in Cincinnati, Ohio; Jerry Rivers produced the session. Session regulars included Clyde Baum (mandolin), Zeke Turner (lead guitar), Shep Haines (rhythm guitar), and Louis Innis (bass). The song was released as a single in 1950, but it only peaked at #23 on the “Billboard” Most Played C&W in Juke Boxes chart.
6. Would I Love You – 1951
Would I Love You was written by country music singer-songwriter Hank Cochran. It was recorded in 1951 by Jimmy Wakely, a close friend of Cochran’s for years, and would later record some of his songs. In the wake of Wakely’s success with the song, Eddy Arnold covered it soon after, beginning a long string of country music artists to record it. In 1952, Patti Page recorded her version, which reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #3 on the Best Seller chart.
5. Mockin’ Bird Hill – 1951
Mockin’ Bird Hill is a song written by Vaughn Horton in 1947. The best-known version was recorded in 1951 by Patti Page. It became her biggest hit, selling over one million copies and becoming the top single of 1952. Billboard magazine’s charts ranked it as the country’s number two song that year, behind Kitty Kallen’s Little Things Mean a Lot. It was the only song in history to top all three Billboard country charts at the time: Most Played by Jockeys, Best Sellers in Stores, and Most Played JukeBoxes.
4. Detour – 1951
One of Patti Page’s biggest hits was the detour, spending six weeks at No. 1 in 1951. The Page recording also reached No. 2 on the Billboard “Most Played by Jockeys” chart and No. 4 on the country music chart in 1949, but it failed to make the pop charts until it became a major success in 1951. In the United Kingdom, it topped the charts for one week in March 1953.
3. I Went to Your Wedding – 1952
Written by country music singer Bill Anderson, I Went to Your Wedding was released in 1952 as the B-side of The Tennessee Waltz single. In March 1973, Patti Page re-recorded it and had a Top 10 hit on the “Billboard” Hot 100 chart (#10) and number one on the Easy Listening chart for four weeks in April and May 1973.
2. How Much Is the Doggie Window? – 1953
How Much Is the Doggie in the Window? is a novelty song written by June Hershey and Lew Tobin, who were husband and wife at the time. It was first recorded by Patti Page on February 17, 1953, with session musicians Grady Martin (lead guitar), Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson (rhythm guitar), and Lewis “Otey” Richard (harmony vocal) for New England Records. The single was released by Mercury Records as catalog number 5545, with the flip side “Confess.”
1. Tennessee Waltz – 1953
Tennessee Waltz is an Appalachian Waltz, written and originally recorded by country music singer Pee Wee King with Redd Stewart (banjo). The song was a hit single on the Country & Western chart in 1948. Patti Page recorded it for Mercury Records on January 22, 1953. Mercury released her cover version as catalog number 70713. The song reached #2 on the Billboard charts in 1953 while reaching No. 1 on Cash Box Top 100 Singles chart for six weeks. It became Page’s second million-selling single and her most successful recording to date (#1). The song was one of 50 recordings chosen in 2008 by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.
All of these songs are considered “Golden Oldies,” meaning they were extremely popular at one time and continue to be remembered through the years. While all 10 of these songs reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart, all but one (How Much is the Doggie Window?) made it into the Top 20. This list is a great big departure from our last list of songs. Maybe one day we can come together and agree on a song or two, but for now – have fun with this list.