GRAMMY-winning country/pop singer Patti Page died on Jan. 1 in Encinitas, Calif. A cause of death was not disclosed. She was 85. One of the preeminent female artists in the '50s, Page charted several albums on the Billboard 200, including 1956's Manhattan Tower, which peaked at No. 18. She earned 19 Top 40 hits throughout her career, including "Allegheny Moon," "Let Me Go, Lover!" and "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte," all of which peaked in the Top 10. Page has been cited as the first recording artist to overdub harmony vocals onto her own lead vocal with the release of "Confess" in 1947. Page won the lone GRAMMY of her career in 1998 Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance for Live At Carnegie Hall — The 50th Anniversary Concert. That same year, Page's "The Tennessee Waltz" was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame. Aside from music, Page served as host of several TV shows throughout the '50s, including "The Big Record" and "The Patti Page Oldsmobile Show." Page will be honored posthumously with a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy in February.
(In addition to the GRAMMY Awards, The Recording Academy presents Special Merit Awards recognizing contributions of significance to the recording field, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical GRAMMY Award. In the days leading up to the 55th GRAMMY Awards, GRAMMY.com will present the tributes to the 2013 Special Merit Awards recipients.)
For me, writing an appreciation for Patti Page could take many pages in this book, so I'll give you my abbreviated version of the respect and admiration this great singer has bred in me and countless others.
As a kid I remember loving her voice because it was smooth, ever-soothing, super-sensitive, and creatively classic. It was easy for me to fall in love with an infectious melody like the million-selling "With My Eyes Wide Open I'm Dreaming," but it was the voice of "The Singing Rage" that would make me a lifelong fan.
She did not just sing the songs. She sang them as if she wrote them, like she owned them. She gave her heart to all of her recordings and you could hear and feel it. As a young performer, she was an inspiration of mine as I worked my way to a degree at Kent State University singing in clubs, making $12 a night as a "boy singer." Patti's interpretation of a song was always something I would cling to. You could hear her passion on recordings like "Old Cape Cod," "Allegheny Moon" and "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte," as well as her signature song "Tennessee Waltz," which stayed at No. 1 for 13 weeks. I was enamored when she would harmonize with her own vocals, which was a daring venture in the mid-'50s. More than a dozen of her singles became million sellers, an astounding feat. She reportedly sold more than 100 million records. Her version of the great standard "You Belong To Me" is still chilling.
Patti was a guest of mine on radio shows I've hosted over the years. Her professional attitude and friendliness are legend. Noticing a touch of jazz in some of her vocals in the latter years, I asked her about it. She not only confessed her love for jazz, but also a deep appreciation for the musicians who played it. Needless to say, her admiration for country music and music makers was endless. Her singing is unforgettable and her personal style was sparkling. She always looked like she was walking down a red carpet. She won the hearts of fans all over the world.
Patti was made aware she was receiving this award just weeks before her passing on Jan. 1, and I'm sure she was proud of the achievement and the recognition it represented. She is and always will be music royalty and will be fondly remembered forever.
(Jerry F. Sharell is a five-decade veteran of the music industry and former president & CEO of Society of Singers. He hosts "Sundays With Sinatra" on radio station KKJZ-FM in Long Beach, Calif., and hosted "Great American Songbook" on KGIL-AM in Los Angeles.)
The Recording Academy today announced its 2013 Special Merit Awards recipients. This year's Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are Glenn Gould, Charlie Haden, Lightnin' Hopkins, Carole King, Patti Page, Ravi Shankar, and the Temptations; Trustees Award honorees are Marilyn and Alan Bergman, Leonard and Phil Chess, and Alan Livingston; and Ikutaro Kakehashi and Dave Smith, and Royer Labs are Technical GRAMMY Award recipients.
A special invitation-only ceremony will be held during GRAMMY Week on Feb. 9, 2013, and a formal acknowledgment will be made during the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards telecast, which will be held at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, and broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CBS Television Network.
"Each year, The Academy has the distinct privilege of honoring those who have greatly contributed to our industry and cultural heritage, and this year we have a gifted and brilliant group of honorees," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "Their exceptional accomplishments, contributions and artistry will continue to influence and inspire generations to come."
The Lifetime Achievement Award honors performers who have made contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording while the Trustees Award recognizes such contributions in areas other than performance. Both awards are determined by vote of The Recording Academy's National Board of Trustees. Technical GRAMMY Award recipients are determined by vote of The Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing Advisory Council and Chapter Committees, as well as The Academy's Trustees. The award is presented to individuals and companies who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording field.
By Fernando Gonzalez
The GRAMMY Awards may get far more attention, but no event during GRAMMY Week is more significant or heartfelt than The Recording Academy's Special Merit Awards Ceremony. Taking place at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Feb. 9, the ceremony recognized artists, technical professionals and executives who have made significant contributions to our culture in general and the music industry in particular.
Citing remarks once made by Bono at this event, Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow said, "This is the heart and soul of the Academy." And it felt that way.
This year's selections for the Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors performers, covered a broad spectrum of music styles, including pianist Glenn Gould, jazz bassist and bandleader Charlie Haden, Texas blues legend Lightnin' Hopkins, singer/songwriter Carole King, pop/country singer Patti Page, sitar master Ravi Shankar, and R&B group the Temptations.
The honorees of the Trustees Award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the industry, other than performance, were songwriters Marilyn and Alan Bergman, Chess records co-founders Leonard and Phil Chess, and executive Alan Livingston. The Technical GRAMMY Award recipients were MIDI founders Ikutaro Kakehashi and Dave Smith and renown ribbon microphone manufacturer Royer Labs.
"We say if there is a dry eye in the house at the end we haven't done a good job," said Portnow, invoking a laugh from the audience. But there were many touching moments.
For example, the soft-spoken Haden helped himself to the stage with a cane. Haden is battling an onset of post-polio syndrome, an illness he suffered from as teenager that unexpectedly returned in 2010. But that didn't stop him from talking about the beauty of making music.
Anoushka Shankar and Norah Jones spoke with humor and reverence for their father, Ravi Shankar, who passed away in December 2012.
"Someone was talking today about music for fun or getting laid," said Shankar. "Well, as many women are fond of telling me, he did a lot of that. But [he] was all about music."
And the evening only got better as everyone had a favorite moment to share or a reason to celebrate. Lightnin' Hopkins' granddaughter recalled how her grandfather would call himself Po' Lightnin'; the Bergmans were celebrating 55 years of marriage; and Carole King's daughters Louise Goffin and Sherry Kondor made a video of the audience wishing their mother, who is on tour in Australia, a happy birthday. King also sent a touching message via video.
There were also intriguing twists. As it turns out, Gould gave his last public performance at age 31 at this very same theater on April 10, 1964.
It all culminated with the Temptations, with the son of the late Melvin Franklin, Niquos Franklin, wishing the audience a "merry Christmas from the Temptations," with his father's signature deep baritone
For music lovers, it was Christmas in February.
Six-time GRAMMY-winning producer Danger Mouse, aka Brian Burton, headed home with another golden gramophone after the the 59th GRAMMY Awards. This year he earned Album Of The Year honors as a producer on Adele’s multi-GRAMMY-winning 25. His previous wins include a 2010 nod for Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical and a slew of multigenre best performance, album and song wins reaching back to 2007.
In her tweet announcing the then-forthcoming album, Adele referenced her approach to the writing of 25 with a nod to the bittersweet nostalgia and subtle self-loss often felt amidst the struggle to navigate the transparent border crossing between the early and the late 20’s: "I'm making up with myself. Making up for lost time. ... I miss everything about my past, the good and the bad, but only because it won’t come back."
— Adele (@Adele) October 21, 2015
Applied nostalgia is an increasingly common theme in contemporary projects and releases, perhaps speaking to a shared sense of navigating a similarly transitional time and space.
Alongside his work on 25, Burton has been busy with projects of his own — most recently a forthcoming series of covers and reimagined arrangements of notable tracks from the early 1960s titled Resistance Radio. It is a conceptual project both inspired by, and tangentially in collaboration with, the Amazon Studios original series "The Man In The High Castle," which is based on the 1962 dystopian novella of the same name by Philip K. Dick. Artists signed on for Burton’s project include GRAMMY winners Beck and Norah Jones, and GRAMMY-nominated indie-rock band the Shins, among others.
In a recent sit-down with NPR for a +1 edition of "All Things Considered," Burton discussed his approach to re-interpreting these '60s songs, framing the album conceptually as a fictional "pirate" radio station. "Based on the subject matter of the show, it worked. You could do a dark record, because it was a dark time. It's resistance radio ... so that's what helped us pick the songs."
Burton will co-produce the album with Sam Cohen, the former Yellowbirds and Apollo Sunshine member behind some notable early releases on Burton's Columbia imprint label 30th Century. The production and arrangements on Resistance Radio perfectly match the bleak, dystopian vibe of "The Man In The High Castle," creating a complete musical period piece.
While analysis of the album's dual service as a legitimate creative work and a practical piece of conceptual marketing for a TV show could fill an article of it's own, the album's place among the ongoing resurgence of the 1960s sound and increasing preference for the aesthetic warmth and feel of vinyl recordings within the music industry merits equal interest.
GRAMMY winner Jack White's own Third Man Records opened its doors in February on a brand-new 10,000-square-foot vinyl pressing plant capable of churning out 5,000 records per hour and operating continuously 24/7 if demand requires. Reportedly, production pressing requests are already streaming in from artists and labels worldwide.
In his recent speech at the 2017 Producers & Engineers Wing GRAMMY Week celebration, White expressed sentiments that mirrored Burton’s approach to Resistance Radio, saying simply "You let the music tell you what to do. You don’t tell the music what to do."